New guide launched on how to best conserve water for the construction industry

16 August 2022

Irish Water today launched its guide for the construction industry outlining how businesses can better conserve and reuse water. 

Irish Water’s new guide, developed in partnership with the Construction Industry Federation (CIF), Sisk, Cairn Homes and the Irish Green Building Council (IGBC), details how builders and developers can implement sustainable and circular processes to achieve massive savings in water conservation. For example:

  • Installing rainwater harvesting systems for dust suppression, vehicle cleaning, ponds, or underground tanks;
  • Reusing water from groundwater or surface water drainage to dampen roads in hot weather;
  • Using innovative technology, e.g. percussion taps, twin flush/low water toilets;
  • Introducing recirculating systems for cleaning tools and greywater, and use for flushing toilets or irrigating plants;
  • Designing ground surfaces to slope away from structures and towards garden areas and recharge zones;
  • Retaining as much vegetation as possible during construction to reduce water evaporation.

To launch its new guide, Irish Water is now calling on sustainability representatives in industry to enrol in its upcoming Water Conservation Clinics, developed in partnership with CIF, which will run this autumn. The free, in-person clinics will offer training and guidance in terms of how businesses can implement sustainable and circular processes at their sites to conserve water.  

Yvonne Harris, Irish Water’s Housing Programme Director, said: “We’re launching our new guide to emphasise the benefits of a circular approach to conserving water in the construction industry. Through our free Water Conservation Clinics, we will be educating those in industry about simple and innovative ways to conserve water on site. Companies right across Ireland are already making fantastic strides in water conservation and we’re calling on industry to get involved and keep the momentum going.”

As water conservation is a key focus area for the construction industry, many developers and businesses are already embracing these circular ways of working. Irish Water's Water Stewardship Programme aims to help businesses lower their water use and operating costs while simultaneously helping protect the environment, and companies such as Sisk Group, BAM Contractors and CBRE have already made huge strides through completing the programme. 

For example, through working with Irish Water, Sisk Group has been able to save 10% more water through implementing Irish Water’s Water Stewardship Programme and various water reduction measures across its sites. 

Alan Cawley, Senior Sustainability Manager at Sisk, said: “Conserving water at our sites is key for Sisk and, through working with Irish Water, we’ve been able to conserve 10% more water. Through rainwater harvesting, over the past year we’ve also been able to reuse more than approximately 1,000,000 litres of water, for everything from dust suppression and cleaning tools to developing thriving garden areas on our sites. We’re aiming to reduce our water intensity by 50% by 2025 over our 2019 baseline and, with the support of Irish Water, we’re confident we will achieve this.”

Those interested in participating in Irish Water’s upcoming Water Conservation Clinics this autumn can sign up on Irish Water’s dedicated webpage: https://www.leanskillnet.com/training/water-conservation-clinic/.

Irish Water’s new guide, Water Stewardship and Sustainability in Construction Sector, is available to view on our Construction page.