SCHOOLS and hospitals will be among the top water users to be targeted as Orange moves closer to level six water restrictions in May, but many are already ahead of the curve.
Dudley Private Hospital general manager Paul McKenna said Orange City Council conducted a water audit at the facility before Christmas.
"They were quite impressed with what we're doing," he said.
Mr McKenna said using glass beads in the hydrotherapy pool rather than sand filtered the water more efficiently, laundry was minimised by not changing sheets daily for longer-term patients and shower times were limited where possible.
"We also use alcohol hand rubs - we still have to do hand-washing as it's a high priority for infection control but we're using less water," he said.
The extension under construction will also feature an underground rainwater tank.
It's important for students to realise the importance of conserving water - it's a good policy to have whether you get 50 inches of rain or none.Catherine McAuley Catholic Primary School principal Michael Croke
Orange Health Service was also contacted at the end of the year and a spokeswoman said the hospital featured restricted flow showers, half-flush toilets, waterless urinals and aerators on taps.
"We have also stopped using the reticulated irrigation systems in the gardens and have purchased a 1000-litre water cube that has been filled with bore water to water the heritage trees and gardens," she said.
"Staff are acutely aware of the need to be conservative in water use, which they practise at the facility."
Meanwhile, Bloomfield Medical Centre has included low-flow taps and grey water and stormwater reuse in its designs.
Zauner Construction director Garry Zauner said grey water would be used to flush the toilets, while stormwater would be used on the gardens.
"We have minimised landscaping to preserve as much water as we can," he said.
Catherine McAuley Catholic Primary School principal Michael Croke said the school's water usage was already low, owing partially to the artificial turf in the school grounds.
"We didn't put it in as a water-saving measure, but I suppose it is, because we're not watering anything," he said.
"It's just so practical - with 500 children playing all sorts of games in a small area, [grass] looks great for three days then it goes back to dirt."
Mr Croke said it had also been useful in wet weather because there was no mud and it dried quickly, and the school planned to add more.
"It's important for students to realise the importance of conserving water - it's a good policy to have whether you get 50 inches of rain or none."
The NSW Department of Education said all public schools were required to adhere to water restrictions and further measures were a matter for individual schools.
The council will be working with the top 50 business water users prior to May 1 in an effort to save water and delay level six water restrictions.
Schools and hospitals are considered the most vulnerable in the group but will not be the first priority, with industry the main focus.
Businesses will be urged to find other water sources, including bores and dams.
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