A detailed review of water usage comes from a business water audit. The American Water Works Association (AWWA) introduced the term in 1957 in a Committee report titled "Revenue Producing vs. Unaccounted-for-water."
'When the well dries up, we'll know the worth of water.' ~ Benjamin Franklin
Businesses must keep track of water supply, use, drainage, and subsequent charges to determine costs and inefficiencies. The process, also known as water assessment, helps understand issues like water wastage and ways of curbing it.
Water audits not only reduce water wastage but also help businesses. Expert assessment assists in avoiding overcharging and proper water usage estimation. Therefore, a regular business water audit report makes room for improvement and brings new opportunities for a facility.
What is a Water Audit?
For ages, we considered water to be an unlimited resource. It was inexpensive, but it soon became a forgotten utility.
According to a study by UNESCO in 2012, industrial businesses use about 20% of freshwater. This estimation is twice as much as domestic water usage. If this volume of water is not used in products, it is discharged as wastewater.
However, today, the situation shows the scarcity of water. Hence, a water audit is the first step that businesses should take to comprehend water usage and ways to reduction.
Simply put, a water audit means systematically examining and assessing water efficiency, management, and usage in a given setting. The primary focus is to identify water wastage and balance potential cost savings.
Most water audits are of two kinds-
- First, a self-audit is where a facility monitors water usage to improve efficiency.
- Second, is a professional audit where an expert third party gives a detailed water usage assessment and cost-benefit analysis.
Water auditing begins when water enters a setting and continues till it gets discharged as wastewater. Each aspect is reviewed and critically assessed. The objective is to establish the quantity of water used, leaked, and wasted and if consumption reduction in any area is possible. Critical examination, along with cost-benefit analyses, helps improve treatment systems to improve water efficiency.
Benefits of Conducting a Water Audit
Water audit is a beneficial process to identify productive usage and unnecessary wastage. To plan water conservation, businesses should not only know what is a water audit but also how to do water audit. The following lists several benefits of conducting a water audit-
Water audit is a critical factor in reducing water consumption. Water is a crucial resource for humanity. Implementing measures to control water wastage is what the water audit focuses on.
Water conservation, as discussed, is a critical part of water auditing. This serves a greater purpose of environmental benefits. Not only does it save water, but it also ensures ecosystem and natural water reserve protection. Moreover, the water audit process reduces carbon footprint since it reduces energy consumption related to water treatment and activities.
Water leakage and excessive usage can contribute to inflated bills and expenses. Therefore, water audits also point out such inefficiencies. Identifying these problems about water consumption is not only beneficial to the environment but also for potential cost savings.
Businesses or industrial facilities must optimize their operations to maximize their potential. Water audits indeed have a role to play in operational optimization as well. It gives much-needed insights into management roadblocks and practices that need improvement.
Compliance With Regulatory Laws
Jurisdictions under which a specific business comes have laws and regulations regarding water consumption. With regular water auditing, businesses ensure operation within these rules and prevent penalties.
The water scarcity challenge is a real threat that nations are facing today. The Council on Energy, Environment, and Water conducted a study that estimated India will struggle with usable water supply by 2030. The estimated water supply is likely to fall by 50%. By 2025, the projected industrial water demand will likely increase to 92 bcm and almost 161 by 2050.
Therefore, businesses must make severe efforts towards water auditing to ensure water shortages are manageable.
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Water Audit Costs
Businesses can establish a water audit report either through self-audits or professional audits. The cost of the water auditing process depends on a few parameters.
When a third-party expert is involved, the water audit expense depends on the area of the facility, the purpose and scope of auditing, operation complexities, etc. Given the range of requirements, the cost of water audits can vary.
Apart from requirements, charges also depend on the number of man-days on site. Each company has different rates at which they deploy their services. Typically for energy audits, the cost might lie between Rs. 7,000 to Rs. 15,000 per man-day.
On the other hand, self-audits are relatively less expensive in terms of time and money. Here, businesses use resources available to them instead of outsourcing help.
Water Audit Process
Water audit is a necessary measure that businesses must invest in. However, it is a costly process. Nevertheless, it offers a long-term solution for reducing excess costs/ bills and water conservation. Since the water audit meaning is now clear, the following focuses on how to do a water audit. Let us discuss the process in detail:
- Businesses and facilities must know water audits can be done by a professional or themselves using the available resources.
- Accessing professional water auditing through the facility's water supplier is possible.
- The essential requirement is to decide upon an auditor and arrange all necessary equipment for their detailed examination of the business.
- The price of a water audit will depend upon some parameters which can be negotiated with the expert auditor.
Today, businesses should be mindful of water consumption when facing water scarcity issues. Hence, it is crucial for industrial settings to work on water efficiency and seek professional water auditing.
Every water audit follows a unique approach to some extent. However, the outline process of water auditing is as follows-
- Detailed examination of water supply and consumption
- Process examination
- A thorough audit of the systems in place
- Analysis of the discharged water
- Final water audit report
Importance of Water Auditing
The primary objective of the water audit is to educate businesses about energy consumption. Hence, what is a water audit if not a proactive measure? The analysis by professional water audits helps identify issues and prevent future hazard. The following are a few essential aspects that water auditing serves
- Compliance with water regulation laws
- Cost savings
- Safety and security improvement
- Natural resource conservation
- Maintain diligence while working on industrial operation
- Fight against potential water pollution
- Lay the foundation for critical futuristic plans
A few months back, the Delhi government announced the implementation standard process for water retention given its looming water scarcity. The aim is to find potable water sources and whether they are usable after treatment. Today, India has the technical capability to work vigorously on water audit plans and execute such projects.
If we do not take proactive measures today, we will regret it tomorrow!
Water-Saving Strategies for Business
Natural resources are the treasure of planet Earth. Unfortunately, humans have not been mindful enough of their consumption. However, businesses can still focus on saving what is left. Especially for commercial enterprises, recycling is critical. There are several strategies that companies can implement to fight challenges, such as water wastage. The following show a few of these strategies
Maintaining an efficient water system
Industrial settings must bring their attention to regular inspection of water consumption systems. Regular checks can flag maintenance problems that lead to excess water usage. For example, inspecting pipes and drainage systems for leaks is preferable. Even small leakages can amount to significant water losses and inflating expenses. So, keeping a regular track is an excellent way to save costs.
Improving Water Efficiency
For instance, it is better for businesses that deal with laundry to operate fully loaded machinery. This helps combat water wastage and puts off air conditioners when not in use since these units consume significant quantities of water. Therefore, being mindful of little things can improve water efficiency and limit consumption.
Implementation of Low-Flow Fixtures
Low-flow fixtures in washrooms and kitchens reduce the number of water clients, employees, and customers. Developing low-flow infrastructure with waterless urinals, toilet aerators, or touchless faucets reduces water usage. In addition, hygiene and health conditions are likely to improve.
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A meticulously performed water audit, will not only help businesses to curb water wastage but will also find avenues for improvement. These proactive measures will pave the way for a sustainable future.
At Kritsnam, we have been rigorously working to spread awareness and develop the tech to save water. One of our esteemed products, Dhaara has been incredibly successful in helping the companies keep track of their water consumption.
The Dhaara is a new-age water meter that combines the power of IoT with the latest sensor technologies. The integrated telemetry and battery-powered capabilities make it easy to manage your water consumption from anywhere and anytime (even when the power is down).
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