Read what to do.


Many Irish tourism hotspots experience the effects of water restrictions during the summer months.

Conserving water in your business will not only help protect your local supply, it'll protect the environment, boost your reputation and reduce your water bills.

We will help you to understand and measure your water use so you can make a plan to save.

Audit water use

Conducting a water audit will show where the major water use is coming from and where savings can be made. An audit can be done by the business owner, facilities manager or a member of staff. This could be an opportunity to appoint a water champion or steward. Larger businesses will often procure external specialists in water audits and bespoke solutions.

Use these four steps to start a water audit:

Detect leaks

Leakage can result from faulty equipment such as taps, showers, toilets and cisterns. Do an overnight test using your meter when little or no water is being consumed.

Work out the litres per hour that goes through your meter. Multiply the number of litres per hour by the annual number of hours X 8760 and this will give you an idea of how much water is wasted through leakage per year (litres/hour x annual number of hours x 8760 = annual leakage).


By reducing water waste, you will often reduce hot water consumption. This is a great benefit as hot water can cost 6-10 times more money than cold. For example a 1,000 m³ cold water leak (less than 2 litres/minute) could cost an average of €2,280 whereas hot water could cost from €13,680 to €22,800

Compare using benchmarks

How do you compare to other hotels or accommodation? Understanding how much water you use and how you compare to others can identify water that is wasted through leaks or excessive usage.

The average consumption per overnight guest is:

  • 301 litres for hotels with swimming pools

  • 85 litres for hotels without a swimming pool

Case study

Fixing leaks saves Riverbank Hotel in Wexford €30,000 a year.

Check hot water waste

Hot water can cost 6 to 10 times more than cold water. So reducing hot water consumption can save you more money. Simple measures like keeping the plug in the sink can make a big difference.

A pot-wash sink tap uses approximately 20 litres per minute. If left running with no plug in the sink for five minutes every hour, it can waste up to 1,700 litres of water per day. That's 620,500 litres per year. This means a cost of €1,800 a year for cold water and €10,000 a year for hot water.

Case study

Westport hotel saves €10,914 a year with water conservation investment

Case study

Westport hotel saves €10,914 a year with water conservation investment.

“If businesses want to reduce their water usage and save money then they need to get involved in Uisce Éireann’s Sustainable Water Towns Initiative. Simple actions make a huge difference and at the end of the day you will make more of a profit. You might not be able to implement a lot of changes at once, but you can start with the ones where you will get the best return and take it from there. Dripping taps, toilet cisterns constantly flowing, leaks - these are things that all staff need to be aware of. Sub metering was so important for us at Westport Woods Hotel, it allowed us to see where we were wasting water. When we took part in the Sustainable Water Towns Initiative, we realised we had a hidden leak in our leisure centre so not only were we losing treated water we were losing heated water; we made substantial savings by fixing that leak. Consistency in leak monitoring is a priority and requires everyone on the team to be vigilant in this regard“

Michael Lennon:  Proprietor of Westport Woods Hotel and member of Irish Hotels Federation

Take action to conserve water

  • Towel Reuse Programme
    Ask your guests to hang up their towels for reuse. If fresh towels are required, provide additional towels rather than replacing them. 
  • Linen Reuse Programme
    Ask your guests to request a linen change rather than changing it automatically. 
  • Bedroom Toilets
    Displace up to one litre of water per flush in old cisterns with a non-permeable brick, bottle of water or commercial water toilet reduction device, such as a hippo bag. 
  • Cleaning accommodation
    Aim to achieve a one flush standard when cleaning toilets and less water cleaning bathrooms. 
  • Accommodation
    Aim to achieve a one flush standard when cleaning toilets and less water cleaning bathrooms. 
  • Kitchen
    Ensure dishwashers are always fully loaded. When pot washing, ensure the stopper is in the sink when the taps are running. Do not use running water for defrosting food. 
  • Laundry
    Ensure washing machines are always fully loaded in your laundry. 
  • Water pressure
    Reduce the water pressure in your business
  • Swimming Pool Backwash
    Base this on pressure reduction, not a schedule.

  • Urinals
    Urinals traditionally flush every 10-15 minutes 24/7 even when the business is closed. One hotel used 25% of its water flushing urinals when the hotel was closed during a long term water shortage in the locality.
    • Solution: Waterless urinals or sensors
  • Taps
    Two tap sinks with screw taps can dispense up to 15 litres of water per tap, per minute.
    • Solution: Mixer taps. It is good practice to install a lever tap and best practice to use sensors which could save up to 11 litres as they dispense a maximum of just 4 litres per minute. 
  • Toilets
    Old style toilets use up to 15 litres per flush whereas dual flushes use 4 to 6 litres per flush. An old 12 litre/flush toilet in use six times per hour replaced with a 4/6 litre dual flush toilet will save €1,000 per toilet per annum (Based on future average cost of water). 
    • Solution: Install dual flush and do the ladies first as they are flushed after every use.

  • Showers
    Showers can use up to 25 litres/min  

    • Solution: Install a low flow shower from specialist suppliers – it mixes air with the water to give the impression of a greater volume and only uses a maximum of 10 litres/min. 

  • Hoses
    Cleaning with hoses, especially power hoses, uses a lot of water.

    • Use a spray unit on your hose pipes

  • Sub-metering
    Sub-metering for high water use areas (kitchens, laundry, swimming pools, etc) should be linked to your mains water meter and ideally all data managed in the cloud with alarms sent when consumption exceeds acceptable levels. Often the payback on these meters can be very quick as they allow you to identify poor behaviour and reduce consumption. When employees know that they are being measured their performance alters. 
  • Pool Covers 
    Pool covers reduce evaporation when the pool is not in use. When correctly used, a pool cover can also reduce total energy usage in a swimming pool by up to 30%. 
  • Ice Machines 
    Use air cooled as opposed to water cooled. If using water cooled, capture the waste water and use it in the pot wash. 
  • Rainwater Harvesting
    Capture rainwater and use it for pool backwash or non-potable uses. You can also install a full filtration system for use within the business. 
  • New Equipment
    When replacing equipment such as dishwashers and washing machines ensure the new machines are energy efficient and use the minimum quantity of water possible. 

Awareness and training

Staff and employees

Train staff on the role of water at your hotel and their role in its conservation. Signage in staff areas helps remind people to turn off taps or use low flush options. Encourage them to spot and report leaks. Fixing leaks is often less expensive than the cost of lost water.


Raise awareness amongst customers by including notices about towel & linen reuse, less toilet flushing, turning taps off while not in use, and taking shorter showers.

Water Management Good Practice Guide

Fáilte Ireland and the Irish Hotels Federation have published a guide to help promote water conservation in the hospitality sector. Thank you to Green Hospitality for sharing this research and content with us.