Reducing water consumption in the home is a simple and easy way to decrease water and energy bills and lessen your household's impact on the environment.
The amount of water in the world is finite, yet between 1900 and 1995 global water consumption rose six-fold - more than double the rate of population growth. Less than half of one percent of the world's water can be used by humans, but this amount increasingly poses a potential hazard because it is rapidly becoming more polluted.
The bottom line is that minimising water consumption in business not only lowers operating costs, reduces water disposal expenses, and promotes regional stability, it is also the right thing to do.
Most businesses waste water in the same ways they waste energy and other materials. Among these practices are:
• installing wasteful production systems that require more input than is needed,
• acting as if supplies are ubiquitous and renewable and don’t need to be managed,
• using pristine supplies for purposes that don’t require pristine inputs,
• not thinking in the long-term, and,
• in general, not making better use of what little is available.
Saving water is always worth the effort. For example, the Frito Lay factory in Casa Grande, Arizona is working to recycle 85%-90% of the water used in its plant combined with an intense energy efficiency programme.
Faced with regional droughts and potential water use restrictions, the company decided to act fast and expects to save $60 million annually. Suggestions used by Frito Lay and other companies to conserve water are outlined in the following pages.
Educate employees and involve them in all water conservation practices. It’s everyone’s job to save water so make it everyone’s job to save water. Kraft Foods set an objective of reducing its water consumption by 15% before 2011 and surpassed that goal by obtaining a 21% reduction.
Designate a water efficiency coordinator, support him or her and, as with other sustainable practices, constantly remind employees what your company is trying to achieve.
Locate the sources where water is used at your place of work (washrooms, sinks, climate control systems, hoses, etc…) and discuss and identify ways that water can be saved at each. Install motion detectors under taps, which operate when a hand is placed beneath them and immediately turn off afterwards. Alternatively, install taps that automatically shut off after running a few seconds.
Get employees in the habit of reporting all leaks and water losses immediately. Train security guards and cleaning crew to identify, handle or report water wastage when they are making their rounds.
Install water flow fixtures (aerators) on all faucets, toilets, urinals and showerheads. This alone can reduce water requirements by 60% or more. Screw-on water flow reducers (also called aerators) cost just one or two Euros and can cut the amount of water that flows from a faucet by one-half or more. The remaining water is mixed with air and the result feels as though the tap is full on.
Additional water saving devices can be installed in toilets (which are widely considered to be the greatest wasters of water in any building) and urinals.
Recycle ‘grey water’ and rainwater. Most industrial systems use tap water (drinking water) for most, if not all, of their production needs. The irony is that recycled water from sinks, showers, production processes, washing machines, and drinking fountains (also known as ‘grey water’) can often be used in place of tap water.
Even rainwater is of sufficient purity for most industrial processes and has the added benefit of being free. Harvested rainwater (from collection tanks on rooftops or building sides) can be used for irrigation, landscaping, toilet flushing, and other purposes.