Reducing water use saves money, can enhance the reputation of a business and preserves natural resources. But where should a business start? This guide will help your business through the first stages of setting up a water efficiency strategy.
Water is often taken for granted: You turn on a tap, and as if by magic, it is there. However, water is a resource like any other, and hence its supply should be treated with respect.
As such, all businesses should make sure that their operations are as water efficient as possible.
This document provides a first step for businesses wishing to use water wisely, and achieve water efficiency in their organisation. It is supplemented by the following further Water Efficiency Guidance documents in the our Information Pack:
The Water Management Hierarchy is a framework for prioritising water management and efficiency actions.
Keep the waste hierarchy in mind when undertaking water savings actions: those which deliver results closer to the top of the hierarchy should be preferred.
Reduce costs and eliminate water waste to enjoy greater savings for your business
A good water balance model, which accounts for at least 90% of your billed water consumption, will serve as a tool to understand and manage water use.
Once you have committed to begin saving water, the first step is to understand how water is used in your business. This should be started by asking the following questions:
The final question will be key to improving your water efficiency. Typical water use areas for businesses include:
A simple and effective tool for understanding your water use is a water balance model. Water balance models numerically account for:
The following steps outline how you can produce a water balance:
One of the main benefits of a water mass balance is to identify any unexplained water consumption, such as leaky pipes.
A dripping tap can waste more than 60 litres of water a week?
That’s the same as 39 bath tubs of water a year.
Measuring water efficiency performance over different time periods helps to gain a better understanding of how your business uses water and where efficiencies can be made. This is best done through setting water management key performance indicators (KPls), which are water use targets proportional to an applicable variable site activity indicator (such as production levels).
KPls allow a business to:
Typical KPl’s for water management include the following:
A key part of using KPls as effectively as possible is to analyse them graphically, in order to visualise if they remain steady, increase or decrease over time. Also, high variation in a KPI graph can illustrate poor control over water use levels. An example of such a graphical analysis is below.
While final savings numbers depend on the site in question, Castle Water’s experience suggests a robust Water Efficiency Action Plan can save up to 50% of a site’s water related consumption and costs.
Once the water balance has been constructed and a baseline water efficiency established by setting KPl’s, the goal is of course to improve performance.
There are many water saving techniques, so prioritisation is key, according to factors such as:
A general list of potential water efficiency technologies is presented over the page. Some of these (particularly urinals, taps, and toilets) will be universally applicable.
However, others (particularly those regarding process water use) will be site specific. In order to tap into these (which depending on the site in question can deliver the most savings), advice can be sought from:
Leakage is a key area which should be addressed (if identified by a water balance model) in any effective Water Efficiency Action Plan. The water and costs savings possible through remediating even simple leaks are shown below:
More complex sites can benefit from expert consultancy support for water efficiency. Castle Water is in a position to provide this to its customers.See our additional services
Alternative water sources represent a different option to mains water. They are typically used for applications for which water treated to a high quality is not needed, including flushing toilets and urinals, grounds irrigation, and various process uses.
Alternative water sources include:
There are multiple potential benefits of using alternative water sources. These include saving money (through reduced mains water bills) and a reduced environmental impact (by using water which is only treated to the necessary quality, and hence results in lower treatment based carbon emissions). However, they must be properly managed to ensure their safe use.
With this in mind, two British Standards are available for reference regarding the implementation and operation of different alternative water sources. These are:
Installing a hippo cistern displacement device in your toilet cistern can save you up to 3 litres water per flush?
Steps 1 to 4 of this guide provide the basics for a SME who wishes to improve their water efficiency - and save money and improve environmental performance in the process.
However, water efficiency should be seen as a continual process, in which improvements are monitored and continuous improvement driven.
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