The need for industrial facilities to reduce water consumption is becoming ever more pressing. In areas of the country like California and many surrounding
states, it has been a concern for decades. Now, other parts
of the country, many of which have traditionally had few
worries when it comes to water consumption, are also being
asked to cut back.
Facility managers should look at this as an opportunity.
Very simply, it pays to reduce consumption. When you
think about it, we are paying for water twice: once when it
is delivered to our plants, warehouses and factories, and a
second time, when it is discharged, sent to water treatment
centers. What this tells us is that reducing water consumption
helps reduce two production costs, simultaneously.
But cutting water consumption can reduce costs in other
ways as well. Less water typically means less plumbing,
fewer plumbing repairs, and the more efficient use of water
in HVAC systems — which usually results in using less water
— also can result in reduced heating and cooling costs.
And one more way reducing consumption pays involves
the way local and state utility companies charge for water.
Throughout most of the 20th century, water charges have
been intentionally low, especially for industrial users. Many
local governments even offered discounts as an enticement
for new industrial players to locate in their states.
That’s all coming to an end. Consumers, as well as
commercial and industrial water users, are now being asked
to pay much more for water, not only to cover the actual
costs of delivering and removing water from facilities, but to
make sure the infrastructure is in place to handle current and
future water demand.
The Payback In Real Dollars
If we take a look at facilities around the world, we see
many that have reduced water consumption and enjoyed
significant cost savings. For instance, in Fort Worth, TX,
American Airlines designed a maintenance base that, among
other things, recycled water and expanded a reverse-osmosis
system, allowing the facility to treat more than 40 million
gallons of wastewater annually. These steps helped the airline
reduce water consumption by as much as 36 percent and
reduce water charges by more than $1 million per year.
Another big Texas company, Frito-Lay, has managed to
save one billion gallons of water annually as a result of
conservation efforts started back in 1999. Their big push has
been to recycle water used to make potato and corn snacks.
In the process, they have cut consumption almost in half,
resulting in substantial cost savings.
And across the pond in Europe, U.K. supermarket chain
Sainsbury has saved more than $2.4 million annually just
by fixing leaks, installing sensors on toilets and urinals and
reducing the amount of water used in toilets.
Steps To Take
Okay, here’s where we get down to the nitty-gritty. And
fortunately, there are many steps administrators of industrial-type
By Klaus Reichardt
Water Reducing Strategies
Can Pay Bigtime For Industrial