With Thanksgiving right around the corner, we often begin to think of all we are grateful for: family, friends, good health. Water may not typically come to mind, however, it is tied to almost everything we do and actually plays a big role in all of the food and drink we enjoy at our Thanksgiving feast.
At Watertech we appreciate the vital role water plays in our business, and we are grateful for the benefits it provides in our daily lives. Water truly is a part of almost everything we do.
A Few Ways We Rely on Water
Manufacturing processes require water for fabricating, processing, cooling, transporting, and washing products. Textile, paper and chemical production are all very water intensive processes. It takes 22 gallons of water to create a pound of plastic. Every phase of the textile industry requires water, from growing cotton and other natural fibers to various phases of production. The textile industry uses 1.3 trillion gallons of water for dyeing fabric each year, and over 2,000 gallons of water are needed to produce one pair of jeans.
Food and Beverage
Agriculture requires considerable amounts of water to grow crops and sustain livestock. Did you know that it takes 62 gallons of water to produce a glass of milk and 20 gallons to produce a glass of beer?
All sources of energy require water in their production processes. We often try to remember to turn off lights or other sources of electricity to save money on our electric bill, but this in turn also saves water. About 75% of all industrial water withdrawals are used for energy production. By 2035, global water withdrawals for energy are expected to increase by 20%, and water consumption for energy is expected to increase by 85%.
Hospitals and healthcare facilities use significant amounts of water. Water plays many roles such as being used to wash tools and equipment, hydrotherapy, hemodialysis, heating and cooling. When you stay in a hospital the amount of water used per person, per day equals close to 600 gallons, whereas the average American uses about 150 gallons per day.
Some Strategies to Reduce Water Usage
Water is a renewable, but finite resource. Freshwater demand continues to increase due to population growth and industry. As the demand increases, it is important to find ways to reduce usage when possible.
- Install meters with datalogging capabilities on high use areas to help collect data and plan reduction strategies. You can’t manage what you don’t measure!
- Conduct a facility audit. When is the last time you took a hard look at your water usage, manufacturing practices, and efficiency programs to assure you are operating as efficiently as you can? This can be a self-audit, but would yield better results if you brought in a 3rd party who specializes in that field and can provide an impartial assessment of water saving opportunities.
- Reach out to Focus on Energy and other respective organizations for ideas on water savings projects. They have ‘em!
- Lean on your equipment vendors and facility contractors for suggestions. They will know of the latest and greatest technology on the market. If they don’t, find a new partner!
- There have been many advancements in water treatment with products that can reduce water, energy or both! Ask your water treater for ideas.
- How old is your equipment, processes, and facility infrastructure? If you said 30 years or older, you can bet you are missing out on opportunities to save on water.
Reuse & Recycle
- Many technologies exist which allow manufacturers to reuse or recycle water. In many cases water that is a waste from one process might be perfect for use in heating, cooling, or rinsing in a different area in the plant. What opportunities exist in your facility?
Upgrade Appliances and Products to Improve Efficiency and Save Water
- Whenever you save energy you also save water. Update inefficient items such as washing machines and dishwashers. Replace older toilets, faucets and shower heads with more efficient versions. Did you know that adding a dual-flush valve to an existing toilet can save a family of four about 15,000 gallons per year?
- When you design your landscape, group plants with similar watering needs. Redirect rainwater to water flower beds or collect excess in rain barrels. Did you know that a Smart sprinkler controller can tap into weather intelligence to avoid unnecessary watering and allow for remote access?
Small Changes / Big Payoff
- Committing to small changes can have a big impact on saving water. When we drink bottled water it actually requires more water to create the plastic bottle than the amount of water it contains. Something as easy as switching to a reusable bottle can have a huge impact. Did you know the average family of four uses over 700 plastic bottles per year?
Reuse & Recycle
- Consider purchasing pre-owned items and donating things you no longer use. Everything we buy and use has a water footprint. Re-using items that are in good condition helps extend their life. We have become a throwaway society and we need to be more conscious of how we consume products.
Are you curious about how much water your household uses? Here is a link to a Water Footprint Calculator
to estimate your total water use.
It is important to be aware of how water impacts all we do, to conserve when possible, and be grateful for it always. Thanks, water!
If you would like more information on water reduction strategies for your facility reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 414-425-3339.