Water case studies

Objective: To use water more efficiently within our members’ operations, especially where water is scarce, and to work with stakeholders to reduce the total amount of water used across the supply chain.


  • To reduce water consumption per tonne of production by 20% by 2020, relative to a 2010 – 2011 baseline.
  • To progress towards greater measurement and tracking of water by industry members.
  • By 2015 50% of members have water reduction targets.
  • Form partnerships to reduce water use across the supply chain, in particular, with the agriculture sector.

Case Study – Wrigley Water Reduction Initiative

In 2012 Wrigley on-site water consumption achieved an 11% reduction compared with 2011 water use, through the following activities:

1. Renovation of the supply chain office to accommodate over 100 additional staff on site: The new office was designed to the National Australian Built Environment Ratings System (NABERS) Water 5 stars standard.  The office is equipped with water efficiency sanitary wares with dual flush wash rooms, and flow restricted sensor taps. A rainwater harvest system is applied and captured rainwater provides all toilet flushing.

2. Water Balance Strategy: In order to fully understand where water is used, water meters were installed on site to identify and reduce unknown water uses.

3. Water saving engagement: A water reduction goal of 5% Year-On-Year is set in the company's strategy. The water saving goal was shared with every associate on site. A Sustainability Award was also established to encourage great ideas from associates on site.

Case Study: Coca-Cola Amatil Water Stewardship     

Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) is one of Australia's largest premium branded beverage and food companies. CCA is committed to conduct business in ways that protect and preserve the environment and to integrate principles of environmental stewardship and sustainable development into business decisions and processes.

Our strategy for maintaining excellent water stewardship encompasses:

  • Ensuring sufficient and sustainable supplies locally
  • Reducing, reusing and recycling water use within our operations
  • Responsibly treating and disposing of wastewater
  • Working with the communities in which we operate to protect local watersheds
  • Educating all CCA personnel on the importance of water efficiency

Step Changes in Water Efficiency at CCA Northmead :

In 2012, the CCA Northmead site made three major changes to the way we utilise water in the factory which together brought about a 12 per cent improvement in the site’s water efficiency.

Filter backwash reuse: The water treatment process used in bottling operations involves numerous filtration steps prior to use when making beverages. The backwashing of those filters can consume considerable quantities of water if not reused. Northmead was able to better utilise an existing water capture system to redirect all backwash water from the drain to onsite tanks. From these tanks the water was reprocessed and fed back through the water treatment plant for potable use. By capturing and reusing this water the site was able to save 28 million litres of water per annum

Optimising CIP in syrup tanks: Making syrup for final beverage production involves careful management of both the mixing and cleaning process in batch and continuous processes. Clean in Place (CIP) washing and sanitising systems can use significant amounts of water. A subsequent project was initiated to optimise the use of water in the CIP process of the plant syrup tanks. Without altering the cleaning heads used in the tanks, the site was able to reduce water use by pulse-rinsing tanks, a simple technique of using on/off spray rinsing rather than continuous spray. This has the same cleaning efficacy but with half the water use. By using this method and ensuring its long term effectiveness through quality assurance validation of the trialled changes, the site was able to realise a further 14.6 million litres of water savings per annum.

Non-potable water reuse: Northmead collects, filters and reuses high quality container rinse water from its production lines for reuse as non-potable water around the site. The water is collected, treated with a small quantity of sanitiser, filtered and stored for reuse. The reticulation system feeds toilets and irrigation systems, cooling towers, container warmer and cleaning hoses. By utilising this recycled water the site is saving a further 35 million litres of water per annum.

These projects combined, are saving the site over 77 million litres of water and around $210,000 per annum.



Syrup tank and CIP systems (above), cooling towers and irrigation systems (Below)





















AFGC’s 2011-2012 Water Activity

The AFGC has continued its support of the water recycling research project, sponsored by the Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence. This project is led by CSIRO Animal, Food and Health Sciences and the Water for a Healthy Country Flagship, and collaborates with industry to demonstrate higher-value water recycling opportunities that deliver economic, environmental and social benefits to the agri-food industry and community.

The research examines opportunities for water recycling across the agri-food chain, with particular focus on food manufacturing, dairy and meat industries.   It focuses on current industry challenges, including regulatory and policy pressures, and the value proposition (an analysis of all factors to determine if water recycling stacks up as the best option). It is also developing strategies to increase acceptance by consumers of recycled water, with the ultimate goal to reduce the reliance of fresh water throughout the agri-food supply chain.

Other research being undertaken by the Centre includes:

  • the use of nanotechnology to recover phosphorous from wastewater, which could in turn be used in fertiliser products,
  • the development of an economic framework to assess the viability of non-potable water recycling schemes, and
  • a national demonstration, education and engagement project to increase public acceptance of recycled water for drinking.

The Australian Government committed $20 million in funding over five years to the Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence, through the Water for the Future initiative.