Waterless wok program expands

By Adam Coleman

A project that initially targeted excessive water usage in Chinese restaurants with an inventive waterless wok has been expanded to include Thai and Vietnamese restaurants after receiving additional funding.

The Saving Water in Asian Restaurants Project (SWARP) was developed by Wollongong and Hurstville City Councils along with the Ethnic Communities Council of NSW (ECC NSW), who received $743,780 in additional funding on World Water Day yesterday.

The wok stove is the biggest water using appliances in many Asian-style restaurants. The new water efficient stoves are cooled using air and feature tap fixtures that turn off automatically when not in use, saving water consumption by about 5000 litres a day for each stove.

ECC NSW spokesperson and project coordinator, Helen Scott, told www.governmentnews.com.au that Asian style cooking restaurants use two to four times more water than other styles of kitchens, due to continuous running water used in the cooking process.

There may be real financial benefits to those restaurants that choose to install a waterless wok, suggests Ms Scott who estimated it could save restaurants up to $4500 a year.

“Anyone who picks up the waterless wok will halve their water use,” she said.

Update April 3:

The City of Melbourne has become the latest council to pilot for the Waterless Wok Stove Program with 20 businesses initially taking part.

“Conventional wok stoves use up to 6,000 litres of water a day, so this initiative is aimed at improving water efficiency of small businesses such as restaurants,” the Lord Mayor said.

“A similar project carried out in Asian restaurants in Sydney found restaurants that converted to waterless wok stoves reduced their water waste by up to 90 per cent.”

There are an estimated 300 conventional wok stoves in the City of Melbourne, using approximately 1.8 million litres of water per day.

To read more about the waterless wok see 'Waterless wok targets heavy usage' in our Innovation section.

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