Elisabeth Lisican is editor-in-chief of Water & Wastes Digest. Lisican can be reached at [email protected] or 847.391.1012.
Water’s increasing importance in the industrial arena is difficult to ignore, as is the ever-growing urgency to protect this precious resource.
When it comes to water stewardship, soft drink giant PepsiCo leads the pack in the food and beverage industry. The company is well known and awarded for its conservation efforts and also for helping industries follow suit.
But you don’t have to be a soft drink giant to make water conservation and efficiency a priority in your operations. Sometimes the hardest part is just getting started.
CDM Smith offers a set of best practices on its website for companies looking to gain a more thorough understanding of their water use within internal operations.
The engineering firm suggests conducting a formal evaluation to better understand basic water use. Doing so can help companies identify water-related impacts and risks, allow for goal setting, and select the best approaches or technologies for conservation. Companies can follow the below set of steps to further grow their water conservation efforts:
• Perform a system analysis. An accurate snapshot of existing systems is imperative for reducing overall water use. Evaluate the true costs of water, including treatment expenses, energy used, water supply reliability and areas of waste, such as open hoses, manual cleaning with water, leaking fire loops and fixed-speed pumps.
• Conduct a feasibility study. Next, the firm suggests identifying conservation opportunities and their ROI potential. Conservation efforts that include a feasibility study or risk analysis often help increase ROI, according to CDM Smith.
• Rely on planning and reporting. Practicing conservation takes more than simply installing new technology. Companies cannot apply a “build it and conservation will come” strategy if they truly want to see results. There must be a top-down commitment and increased enterprise-wide awareness with realistic goals and alignment between management objectives and the capabilities of the facility.
CDM Smith offered the following additional best practices to keep in mind: employee education, improved standard operating procedures, leak and water loss monitoring, and employee incentives.
Saving water has a slew of benefits that make good business sense. From reducing overhead costs to reducing future water costs (which are set to rise above inflation) and, finally, to making additional water available for future production, implementing water conservation practices is a highly reliable way to stay sustainable.