Key messages

  • Water efficiency benchmarks allow organisations to measure how well they are managing their water consumption.
  • Water consumption in Victorian public hospitals decreased by 13.6 per cent from 2005-06 to 2016-17.

Analysing water consumption and developing water-efficiency benchmarks allows health services to measure how well they are managing their water consumption.

In 2015-16 the department invested in a new online environmental data management system. The system has increased the number of facilities the department collects water for, so data for prior years is not directly comparable.

Trends in water consumption 

Water consumption in Victorian public hospitals decreased by 13.6 per cent from 2005-06 to 2016-17.

Water Consumption graph

Figure W1: Victorian public hospitals water consumption in megalitres 2005- 2017

Factors that influence hospital water consumption

Increased hospital activity

Increasing hospital activity increases demand for water as hospital departments are occupied for longer hours resulting in more hand-washing and sanitation services.

Bed-days and separations are used as measures of hospital activity.

Occupied bed-days (also known as patient days) is a calculation of the number of days or part days for all patients who were admitted for an episode of care and who underwent separation. Bed-days, in this instance, exclude residential aged care bed-days.

A separation is defined as ‘the formal process by which a hospital records the completion of an episode of treatment and/or care for an admitted patient’. 

Increasing floor area

From 2005-06 to 2016-17 the floor area of Victorian public hospitals that water data is collected for increased by 54 per cent. This is in part due to the implementation of the new online environmental data management system, which has increased the number of facilities the department includes in its public environment report.

In 2016–17 a number of capital works were completed, including three significant greenfield hospitals: the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, the New Bendigo Hospital Stage 1 and the Monash Children’s Hospital.

Increase in floor area results in increased demand for water from process water and cleaning. Floor area figures represent gross floor area and excludes at-grade car parking. Multi-storey car parking is included where data is available.

Water efficiency 

Water efficiency within Victorian public hospitals is measured against multiple factors including the built environment, number of patient bed days and service care activities and expressed as water intensity.

Since 2005-06 water efficiency of Victorian public hospitals has been improving. Water intensity based on floor area (kilolitres per meter squared) and occupied bed-days (kilolitres per bed-day) has decreased by 29 per cent, and intensity measured in separations (kilolitres per separation) has decreased by more than 43.5 per cent.   

Water Consumption - figure W2 Line Graph 

Figure W2: Change in Victorian public hospitals water intensity since 2005-06