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While principal production areas are located in the south-east states (South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria), wine grape growing and winemaking are carried out in all Australian states and territories.

Why save water in the wine industry?

Economic benefits include:

  • Decreased cost of water supplied (mains water), as well as of wastewater disposal;
  • Reduced pumping needs, which will reduce annual energy costs (and greenhouse emissions); and
  • Fewer infrastructure requirements, such as the maintenance of pumping equipment and water pipes.

Agronomic benefits include:

  • Improved quality of grapes; and
  • Improved crop yield (more grapes per area of land).

Additional benefits include:

  • Improved business image and marketability of your product;
  • Reduced impact of stormwater flow and the potential for erosion. This minimises damage to your property, as well as the local environment;
  • Protection of local aquatic environments, by the improved quality of flows from the property;
  • Preparation of the company for future drought, water restrictions or an increase in water prices; and
  • Minimisation of the impacts of salinity and groundwater contamination in your region.

How to save water in the wine industry

  • Install water meters on major plant machinery or processes. This will allow you to track water use performance, identify leaks and set targets for water reductions.
  • Consider conducting a detailed water audit to identify problem areas and prioritise solutions. Your water authority can provide advice on how to do this.
  • Use equipment with automatic shut-off devices, to eliminate water wastage.
  • Use high-pressure nozzles and spray devices. The higher pressure should clean surfaces more effectively, with limited volumes of water.
  • Use flow restrictors to control flow rates to equipment and taps.
  • Try to avoid mixing solids with water wherever possible.
  • Sweep down surfaces rather than hosing or mopping. Use brooms, scrubbers and squeegees.
  • Filter out organic materials before discharging water as effluent.
  • Introduce automatic cleaning systems, to reduce both water and chemical use.
  • Use water sparingly when cleaning equipment.
  • Recycle water used in leak testing barrels.
  • Consider treating and reusing winery wastewater for vineyard or other crop irrigation.
  • Consider using rainwater and stormwater collected from the site for activities such as wash-downs and toilet flushing. See our sections on rainwater and construction for more information.