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Water Sustainability

In today’s marketplace, a company has to be concerned with more that just profitability. It needs to make a difference.

The saying is true….”Think Globally, Act Locally”

Reducing solid waste, hazardous waste, carbon footprint and water footprint are ways that industries can help achieve this.

Planning can be the key. To reduce your water footprint, try the following:

Baseline Water Balance. A water (mass) balance is the initial step in identifying where water reduction and cost savings can be achieved. This step will assist a company in identifying:

  • Areas and processes of major water use
  • Areas of water loss
  • Water-related production restrictions (plans for expansion, etc.)
  • Compliance issues

Identify Opportunities. Conducting and calculating a mass balance can uncover opportunities to use existing water more efficiently; use water from a source for another process which may have been unapparent. These can be used as the basis for a company’s new water policy or to expand their existing policy.

Develop a Water Sustainability Plan. The best plan in the world is ineffective if it sits and gathers dust. In order for a plan to be successful, the key stakeholders must feel engaged; that the implementation of the plan will make an impact. The plan should be simple, specific, have definable and achievable goals, measurable and quantifiable. The plan should contain the following sections:

  • Identification of processes and production innovations – Which processes are wateruse intensive and which ones are minor water users; water quality constraints on processes (what quality of water does each entity need or use); can water be reallocated or rerouted; can additional treatment achieve the water quality goals of production or other wateruse areas; increase the number of times water is used until discharge, etc.
  • Required technology – What technologies will be necessary to meet the water conditions outlined above.
  • Estimated water savings – each of the production changes and technologies used should contribute to overall water savings. These savings will be weighed against capital and operating costs; however, intangible benefits such as public relations and overall company perceptions can also play a key role in these savings.
  • Budget – Establishing a budget is necessary for procuring funding, whether funding comes internally or from outside grants and loans.
  • Timeline for projects – A specific timeline for each water project should be developed. Periodic reviews are included in these timelines to monitor progress and to keep the projects on-time and on budget.
  • Project ranking prioritization – Once the projects are identified and defined, they can be ranked as follows:
    • Priority 1: High value, low cost (biggest bang for the buck)
    • Priority 2: High value but with significant resources required
    • Priority 3: Limited value, low cost
    • Priority 4: Projects performed only if necessary
  • Employee communications and training – This is one of the most vital, but often overlooked, parts of a plan. Stakeholders must continually feel engaged in the plan, know how it is progressing, and develop awareness that what they do or don’t do have specific impacts on the overall outcome of sustainability.

Plan Implementation – Company management must make a monetary and manpower commitment to the plan. Otherwise, no amount of planning will make any changes happen. The plan will have no chance of success.

CWS can assist you with any or all of your sustainability planning. Let us help you find the savings you need. The benefits will be felt locally…..and globally!

“Civilization has been a permanent dialogue between human beings and water.” – Paolo Lugari