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Effective Water Management Strategy and Its Environmental Impact
By Katreena Sarmiento
Thanks to modern conveniences, many have taken water for granted. Yes, people certainly know they need water, but they do not think of it as a resource that needs conserving. After all, water comes out of the taps in their home. It even gets sold in bottles for them.
Despite this, clean and fresh water is quickly becoming a more limited resource. Droughts have staggered millions of communities, as every person needs water for their everyday needs. As such, it’s the responsibility of businesses to do their part in water conservation, especially with how much corporations account for all water use.
Where to Start?
When considering the best water management approach, a good place to start is to find out how much water your business consumes.
Make a headcount of the average number of people that use water in your establishment every day. Start splitting them by demographics. Certain age groups and genders are more likely to use the bathroom for different reasons.
After you have done all this (and preferably recorded your findings on a spreadsheet), start finding out the flow rates of all the water fixtures in your business. These are either recorded on the fixture itself via a label, or somewhere online on the product manufacturer’s site.
That information is where you can gather which parts of the business can be streamlined.
Once you’ve got your water footprint down, it’s time to see what water risks you need to be aware of. Geography is very important in this scenario. If you are in a very dry climate in an urban setting, for example, all water-related concerns essentially double.
There are several tools online you can use from experts in water management that can help you gauge water risks in your area, such as WWF’s Water Risk Filter.
Prioritize High-Risk Areas
Different businesses will have different priorities, which is why assessing the risks and water footprint beforehand is so important. For example, botanical businesses would definitely have the upkeep of plants as the highest water consumption in their business.
Once you have identified that, you can look into ways to either reduce or recycle the water needed to keep your business running.
Water Management Plans
Now that you’ve got the water footprint and the risks you need to account for, it’s time to start planning.
Use Water-Efficient Fixtures and Machinery
Your first priority should be replacing any inefficient water-using equipment in your business. A lot of older models of toilets and faucets waste a lot of water. Look into technologies such as:
- Aerated Faucets
- Waterless Urinals
- High-Efficiency Toilets
- Insulated Water Heating Systems
- Efficient Dishwashers and Washing Machines
A great tip for spotting energy-efficient appliances and equipment are the Energy Star and WaterSense labels. These labels indicate that their products are more efficient, less likely to require repairs, and generally last longer than older, conventional equipment.
Teach your in-house staff to be more conservative with their water use. You don’t need to be draconian and measure every single drop of water they use. Instead, hold a seminar explaining the benefits of water management and its impact on the business’s bottom line. A few things staff can do to reduce water consumption include:
- Run water-intensive equipment (such as dishwashers) only when full.
- Turn off air conditioners when not in use
- Keep water temperature to 43 to 48 degrees celsius for conservation
- Open faucets only when needed instead of leaving them on
- Report any leaks to the building manager immediately
These small actions all help towards the end goal of conserving water.
Recycle and Reuse Water
While there are too many methods to list in this article, it bears mentioning that water recycling is one of the best ways to conserve water. Here are a few things you can look into:
Through rain diversion systems, this method involves harvesting rainfall, running it to a water tank, and filtrating it for use within your establishment. For businesses that are in rain-heavy areas, this is a solid investment. It means long-term savings and immediate water conservation, as it lets you use natural resources to run your business.
Gray Water Recycling
Gray water is essentially water used to shower or bathe. Sometimes, it may also be water used from washing machines or utility sinks (i.e. not for washing dishes). There’s a variety of systems, ranging from simple (gathering shower water into a bucket) or more involved (pipe systems that connect your shower directly to the outside soil).
While the saving of water may be a complicated process, its simple results are incredibly helpful in saving our environment. Reducing water waste not only saves business costs, but lives as well. It also means events such as droughts will not affect your community as much as it would have with wasteful water practices. Clean water also allows us to retain our luxurious lifestyles involving vegetation and swimming pools. Saving water means saving energy, and that contributes to reducing the carbon footprint of humanity.
Know more about the state of the environment in the Environment section of our site!
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About Katreena Sarmiento
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