Getting that water balance

19/09/2007 - 00:00
Q. What practical steps can I take to minimise water use? A. Markus Herz, Envirowise Regional Manager for London says: To get started, we would recommend that companies carry out a 'water balance' to identify water saving opportunities.

This is a numerical account of where water enters and leaves your business, and exactly where it is used. The key steps are: 1. Get buy-in from the Board to get activity rolling. The wide-ranging nature of waste minimisation - product design, purchasing, operations, engineering, distribution, finance, etc - means that it is essential to obtain the broad support of the whole management team. 2. Gather all water data including bills, meter readings and flow rates. Aim to account for at least 80% of the water you pay for and look for any gaps in your data that may cause a problem. 3. Get a better picture by conducting a site walk-round, checking for leaks and wasteful practices. It might help to sketch your site or produce a flow diagram on which you can include all areas that use water. 4. Check the source and discharge route for all water-using processes. You will then need to quantify and record the water use and effluent flows in appropriate units, and calculate the associated costs. 5. Target high volume and unnecessary areas of water use for action. The cost data you have compiled should help you to identify processes/areas where water savings are most likely to result in short payback periods. Envirowise offers a series of free online Water Tools and Water Management leaflets which can help you with this process, find out more at www.envirowise.gov.uk/water or by calling the Advice Line on 0800 585 794.

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