This post is the first in a series intended to help you think of ways to make water and water management part of your plans in 2012.
"If You Can't Measure It You Can't Manage It"
The renowned business management guru, Peter Drucker, said "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it." This holds true for managing your water usage. The first step towards this goal is to understand how much water you are using and where it is being used. If you aren't currently measuring your water usage, the first thing to do is to obtain your water bill. Start a spreadsheet that lists your usage for the past 12-24 months. Also record the total amount of the water bill - this is how you can can begin to understand how much water is costing you. You now have a better understanding of how much water your facility is using.
Reading a Water Meter
The downside of the method above is that most water bills are quarterly or monthly. While that helps with budgeting, it is limited in helping you understand what activities are using the most water or when peak usage occurs. Taking it to the next step will require that you take readings from your water meters on a regular basis. If you haven't read a water meter before, check out this video for assistance. We recommend taking a reading every day that your facility is open or operating. It is important to take the reading at the same time every day so that you can more accurately compare each day's usage. Make note of the units that your meter is recording. If you have a meter that is reading in gallons, just record the number on the register. If the meter reads in cubic feet, take the reading and multiply by 7.5 to get the reading in gallons. If you have a large facility with a number of different meters, taking readings everyday can sometimes be a challenge. There are options for automatically recording your meter readings. If that is something that you are interested in, please make a request using this form and we will be happy to discuss those options with you.
Once you have a good historical record of your water usage, you can begin to compare usage each day and determine when your usage is larger than normal. You also have data that you can present to the rest of the company to begin raising awareness about water usage throughout your facility.
Water Meter Tip
Here is one more tip about water meters. Most water meters have a leak indicator that rotates whenever water is flowing through the meter. If your facility or a particular system is shut down, take a look at the meter. If the leak indicator is moving, then you know that water is being used or leaking somewhere. Here is another video that does a good job demonstrating this.