Saving Water in Asian Restaurants

From 2005 to 2009 the ECC utilised a range of complementary education strategies, and supported with funds from the NSW Government Climate Change Fund and Wollongong City Council, the Saving Water in Asian Restaurants Project effectively achieved its objectives of:
-    promoting the economic and environmental benefits of a reduction in water use to Asian style cooking restaurant owners and staff
-    providing multilingual information on actions that can be taken to reduce water use in kitchens
-    explaining the opportunity to achieve an estimated 50% reduction in annual water use of the kitchen by purchasing and installing a 'waterless' wok stove
-    offering a subsidy to restaurant owners as an incentive for the purchase and installation of 'waterless wok’ stoves

The project engaged 763 Asian style restaurants across the Sydney, Central Coast and Illawarra regions. In total, 151 restaurants joined the project, installing a total of 275 waterless wok stoves in their restaurants.

In total, the project resulted in an estimated annual water saving of 195,562 kl per year for all stoves measured, with restaurants reducing their water consumption by 82% on average.

Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese language materials

Chinese language project materials were considered informative and useful by restauranteurs during the first part of the project and Thai and Vietnamese brocures and DVD were developed. Media networks, particularly Chinese were utilised successfully in promoting the project.

Our qualified bilingual environmental educators were rated highly on the water conservation and waterless wok stove knowledge and for their supportive and helpful practices. In challenging circumstances, their personal drive and commitment ensured they continued to provide a high quality and unique service to Asian restaurants.

Feedback

Project participants (who installed waterless woks) could clearly identify a range of sustainable water conservation practices in their kitchens. The market for waterless wok stoves is increasing and expanding with suppliers enhancing existing products based on consumer feedback and other stove suppliers seeking to join the market.

Conclusion

Project outcomes suggest that ensuring the availability of environmentally sustainable technology alone will not encourage product uptake and market transformation. New technologies should be supported by culturally and linguistically appropriate education and communication strategies for each separate ethnic community.