Conduct a water use survey
A water use survey (or water audit) identifies the quantities, characteristics, and uses of water at a restaurant. From the water use survey a water balance can be created which will help decisions on where to focus conservation efforts.
- Utensils and dishes - can be presoaked in basins of water, rather than in running water.
- Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator rather than under running water.
- Water-cooled single pass equipment – In many restaurants single pass water-cooling is used for: refrigeration, freezing, ice cream, yogurt machines, and other similar equipment. These units can account for a significant amount of water use at the restaurant. See Single Pass Cooling Fact Sheet for conservation information.
- Replace pre-rinse shut-off spray nozzles – Spray Nozzles can use as much as 5 gallons of water each minute. Today, efficient
low-volume nozzles use 1.6 gallons per minute and are designed to remove food as effectively or even better than their high flow counterparts. Get a free pre-rinse shut-off nozzle from the Water Bureau.
- Do not use running water to melt ice in bar sink strainers.
- Turn off food preparation faucets that are not in use - consider installing foot activators if needed.
- Use water from the steam table - instead of fresh water, to wash down the cook's area.
- Use the minimum amount of dishware, glassware, utensils and cookware to reduce dishwashing loads.
- Serve water in bars and restaurants only upon request.
- Turn off the continuous flow - used to clean the drain trays of the coffee/milk/soda beverage island; clean the trays only as needed.
- Dipper wells - Reduce the flow to dipper wells (troughs) for ice cream and butter scoops, and other frequently used utensils (Check with local Health codes for any restrictions).
- Adjust ice machines - to dispense less ice if ice is being wasted.
- Replace an existing water-cooled model - with a newer, more water efficient air-cooled unit. Energy efficient air-cooled units use only slightly more energy than their water-cooled counterparts. Savings from water and sewer charges will outweigh the additional energy costs.
- Wash only full loads in the dishwashers.
- Check with the manufacturer - to see if dishwasher spray heads can be replaced with more efficient heads, or if flow regulators can be installed.
- Replace worn spray heads.
- For conveyor type washers - ensure that the water flow stops when there are no dishes in the washer. Install a sensing arm or other device that will detect the presence of dishes and shut the water off when there are no dishes on the conveyor.
- Evaluate reuse of rinse water - for garbage disposer or scrapper trough.
- Where possible, eliminate garbage disposers, scraping troughs, and conveyers - In addition to saving water, this measure can eliminate costs of disposal repair and replacement and employee time devoted to clogs and other malfunctions.
- Reuse the rinse water - from the dishwasher or excess water from the ice machine as flush water in garbage disposal units.
- Reduce garbage disposal water flow - to minimum acceptable levels that still meet manufacturer recommendations.
- Control the flow of water to the garbage disposer - with a solenoid valve that shuts the water off when the unit is not operating.
- Use “connectionless” models - that recycle steam internally and use less than 2 gallons per hour. These units also use significantly less energy than conventional steamers.