Saving water and preventing wastage
97.5% of the world’s water is locked in seas and oceans, too salty for human use, and most of the remaining 2.5% is in the ice caps.
Because of this, we depend on only a small amount of the available fresh water, not just for drinking and washing, but also for everything we produce.
As water becomes an increasingly scarce resource, building new infrastructure to meet the growing demand becomes exponentially expensive. By saving water instead, we can reduce the need for new infrastructure and offset the pressure on existing.
The efficient use of water also makes our supply more resilient against impacts from wastage, climate change, and natural disasters such as droughts.
Reducing business water usage
In commercial situations, closely monitoring your water usage through the use of AMRs (automatic meter readers) and installing more efficient devices are the two areas to consider. This serves the dual goal of reducing usage/wastage, as well as lowering costs.
- Monitor usage through meters, especially looking at excess consumption at times when your business is closed, such as at night, to identify potential leaks
- Installation of urinal controls or waterless urinals, efficient flush toilets, automatic or sensor taps in kitchens and bathrooms – the savings can often quickly recoup the initial outlay
- Water efficient taps and showers will also reduce energy costs
- Choose devices that have eco-settings built in
- Knowing where your supply pipes run and where the shut off valves are.
- Protect pipes against cold weather
Water recycling schemes are worth considering and are often even more viable in business settings than domestic settings. Determine where your wasted water is going and if or how you can recycle it in other areas of your business.
Depending on usage, some water may not need to be high-grade, so can be reused with little intervention. If the requirements need a higher quality, the options are:
- Ozonation – infusing water with ozone
- Ultrafiltration - using membranes, similar to microfiltration
- Aerobic treatment (membrane bioreactor) – a small scale sewage treatment system
- Forward and reverse osmosis – using a semi-permeable membrane to separate water from dissolved solutes
- Advanced oxidation - chemical treatment procedures to remove organic (and sometimes inorganic) materials
When we set up clients with AMRs, we provide full access via our client portal to the reporting which will allow you to check your water-efficiency and we will alert you to unusual patterns of consumption.
Benefits of lower water consumption
There are many benefits to reducing water consumption to a business, beyond cost reduction. These include:
- Your environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategy
- Environmental legislation compliance
- Reducing your carbon footprint and supporting your journey to net zero
- Being a more environmental employer
Engaging employees is an important part of any programme to save water (and energy) to change attitudes and behaviours, where necessary, to all work together towards a common goal.
At a macro level, using water efficiently means that we can minimise the amount of additional water resources being taken out of our rivers and aquifers, especially as demand is rising, to protect our water resources and the wildlife that rely on them for their survival.