Water efficiencies are best made by focusing on the areas where you can make the biggest difference and by providing ways for your visitors to learn about and contribute to water savings. 

On average water leaks and irrigation make up about 70% of your water bill. By just focusing on these two areas you could make significant water savings.

Water efficency 

Water is a precious, finite resource, vital to our individual health, our collective needs as a community, and the needs of our environment. Water efficiency is essential for our economy and way of life, and our future relies on a sustainable and secure water supply. It is also an important management consideration for all businesses.

  • Currently, in Darwin, water is mainly sourced from Darwin River Dam, which relies on rainfall. Even when Darwin has a good wet season, only a small portion of rainfall actually falls in the Darwin River Dam catchment.
  • In Alice Springs, water is sourced from underground aquifers, which only see minimal replenishment as they don’t regularly renew through annual rainfall like a river or dam might.
  • In regional or remote regions, water may be sourced from a river, aquifer, dam, storage tank or may even be delivered by truck. These regions rely on many factors to ensure a supply of good quality drinking water, and it is important that water efficiency measures are in place to ensure water security.

As our population grows and our climate changes Tooltip button, it is important that as an industry we don’t have a negative impact on the local communities we operate in and visit.

Kings Creek Station, Uluru and surrounds

Get started

To help you get started on your journey towards becoming a sustainable tourism business, we've prepared key areas to focus on and practical steps to implement sustainable practices in your operations. 

  • Understand the NT’s water story including what the NT Government’s plans and future priorities are to secure water supplies in the areas you operate.
  • Every 3 months complete a 3-Step Leak Check using Living Water Smart’s advice:
    1. Make sure that there is no water being used in your business.
    2. Go to your water meter and take a reading of the last two digits.
    3. Wait 5 minutes, then take another reading of the last two red digits. If there was movement of the dial, you may have a leak. Even the smallest leak can add up to a lot of wasted water over a year.
  • Check for toilet leaks. Add dye to your cistern and if after an hour dye appears in the bowl, you may have a leak. A leaking toilet, barely discernable to the naked eye, can waste over 200 kiloliters of water per year!
  • Over irrigating is a big contributor to water wastage, and it doesn’t do your garden or lawn any favours! Implement these Living Water Smart tips to save water in your garden and grounds:
    - Water lawns three times a week, garden beds twice a week and natives just once a week.
    - Water once the sun goes down and before the sun rises in the morning.
    - Turn off your irrigation system when it rains (this might be the whole wet season in the Top End!)
    - Check your irrigation system for splits in your lines, blocked pipes and broken sprinkler heads.
  • Ensure your pool is running efficiently. It may be more practical and cost effective to outsource pool maintenance to an expert – however make sure they know your water efficiency goals!
  • Display signs, posters or flyers to educate and encourage staff and travellers about water conservation. Give travellers practical advice relevant to their visitor experience, for example ask tour groups to limit their shower times in remote and regional locations.
  • Include water saving policies and procedures in staff training and encourage guides and customer service staff to include water conservation in their introduction briefs to visitors.
  • Encourage staff to contribute to water savings ideas, creating a water efficiency culture within your business. You could even identify monthly ‘water saving champions’ within your team and reward them accordingly!

Download the checklist 

Bitter Springs, Elsey National Park

Take further action

The below checklist is designed to inspire you to go beyond the basics and embrace innovative strategies that promote environmental stewardship, support local communities, and provide authentic and responsible travel experiences.

  • Install a rainwater harvesting and recycling system. Do your research to ensure that your choice in system is the most efficient for your climate and maintain your system well.
  • Upgrade your shower heads to a water efficient alternative, making significant water and energy savings.
  • Update appliances, fixtures and fittings when budget allows or as replacements are required. Install appliances, such as dishwashers, toilets and washing machines, with a high water star rating.
  • Install water valves to help manage water use. Valves allow you to easily section off water to different parts of your property to locate areas that are leaking or to make repairs without interrupting supply to the rest of your business.
  • Plant wisely, choosing species suited to your local conditions. Usually natives use less water and are hardier. Make sure to mulch, zone your plants according to how much water they need, and consider the direction of the sun, shade and wind when planting.
  • Upgrade your irrigation systems to include a smart irrigation controller that automatically adjusts watering based on local weather conditions. Get advice from your local irrigation specialist as you may need to upgrade your pipes and install solenoid and isolation valves.
  • Install waterless or composting toilets, especially if you operate in a remote area. Look out for grants to assist in upfront costs.
  • Measure and document water-related metrics, and review your water saving performance each quarter.
  • Apply for the Smarter Business Solutions program to help you reduce day-to-day energy, water, waste and material costs*.
    *Eligibility criteria applies.
  • Contact Living Water Smart to ask advice on current water efficient technologies and practices, and find out if they can help you identify potential water saving opportunities specific to your business.

Download the checklist 

Climate change

Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. These shifts may be natural, such as through variations in the solar cycle. But since the 1800s, human activities have been the main driver of climate change, primarily due to burning fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas.

Page last updated on 08 August 2023