locations can take to reduce water consumption, and it all starts by
turning off the taps. Some industrial locations, based on the items
they are assembling or use, have water being used continuously
throughout the day. Is this necessary? Are employees accessing
this running water so much throughout the day that it needs to run
continuously? In so many cases it does not.
Additional steps to take include the following:
Monitor consumption. More than half a century ago,
Dr. H. James Harrington, engineer, businessman and author,
said, “Measurement is the first step that leads to control and
eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something,
you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t
control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.” This
means the first step in water reduction, is determining how
much water the facility is using on an annual basis as well as
where it is being used. It’s often a good idea to go back three
years to get a thorough appraisal of water consumption.
Form a water reducing team. The job of the water
reducing team is to investigate all the areas in the facility
where water is being used, and then, look for ways of reducing
Low-hanging fruit. The team should start with the “low
hanging fruit.” For instance, restrooms are big water users. If
the fixture is more than five years old, consider replacing it.
Also, consider selecting no-water or waterless urinals. These
are used in many industrial locations
throughout California, Arizona and New
Mexico, mainly because they reduce water
consumption so dramatically. (See Sidebar)
Hoses and leaks. Something as simple
as fitting a trigger-action valve to hoses
and fixing leaks can reduce thousands of
gallons of water annually.
Cleaning. In some industrial locations,
equipment and facility cleaning uses
large amounts of water. Some tools and
equipment can be manually cleaned
or “dry cleaned” without using water.
Even if water is still necessary, manually
cleaning tools and equipment first,
typically means less water is necessary.
Implement water efficiency measures.
So we are clear, water efficiency refers
to long-term water reduction strategies.
Industrial facilities use water differently.
A food processing plant, for instance, uses
vast amounts of water for cleaning food
items along with the tools and equipment
used in food production. However, to
use water more efficiently, many have
begun recycling this water; controlling the
amount of water used for cleaning; and
selecting equipment designed for quicker
cleaning with less water.
There are several more steps we can
discuss. And once water consumption has
been reduced in the facility, make sure
employees know about it. This “good news” has a habit of
attracting more good news. People working in the facility start
finding new ways to reduce water consumption, providing fuel
and energy to that water-reducing journey we
Klaus Reichardt is founder and CEO of Waterless Co. Inc.,
based in Vista, CA.
When is it time to replace a restroom fixture?
One of the best ways to reduce water consumption is to know
when it’s time to replace water-using equipment or restroom
fixtures. As to restroom fixtures, where a significant amount of
water is typically consumed in a facility, here are some suggestions:
• If there is an unexpected and an unidentified surge in
• If the fixtures are more than five years old
• If the fixture is cracked or damaged in anyway
• If the flush handle malfunctions repeatedly (this is especially true
of manually operated flush handles)
• If the floor area around the fixture, such as a toilet or urinal, is
wet frequently (indicates leaking)
• You notice corrosion or scale developing
• If the fixture is making unusual or loud noises
• If they are aesthetically unappealing
• If water and sewer charges increase significantly