Opinion

How to reduce water waste

Water efficiency is a growing priority for businesses across the globe. According to 896 business leaders surveyed at the Davos World Economic Forum, water is the number one risk factor posed to their business. Water is increasingly becoming a board-level concern, both to reduce risk exposure and to ensure a high level of corporate social responsibility and sustainability.

While water efficiency measures are often viewed at a granular level, a strong strategic approach to water management is necessary to drive ongoing improvements and cost savings for businesses. Water is essential to the function of most business operations, and water efficiency measures can achieve much higher levels of effectiveness when they are aligned with overall business objectives.

Moving from a perception of water as a utility to a more nuanced view of its function within your business can be a long-term process. Below we’ve set out the main priorities for a strategic approach to reducing water waste within your business.

Measure and understand

Virtually all businesses have a water meter, but relying on this to manage your water usage is like trying to run a business based only on its bank balance. A single top-level data point isn’t nearly enough, and developing a clearer picture of your business’s usage is essential to identify and prioritise potential improvements.

The best efficiency measures to reduce water waste depend on your company’s individual usage patterns. By taking the time to implement accurate measurement from the start, you can ensure not only that you make the best changes, but that these are having a measurable impact and delivering clear return on investment.

Sophisticated automated meter reading technologies can provide visibility of your business’s water usage in real time, and pinpoint the areas where water is being used the most, as well as potential areas of wastage.

Better measurement is also vital for prioritising and assessing the potential impact of different efficiency measures, to build a business case for improvements. It also allows instant validation of the results of any changes.

Integrate with vision and values

Water is a finite resource, and one on which we are all dependent. It is also likely to become scarcer in future as populations grow, demand increases and our climate changes.

While technology can go a long way towards minimising waste, the human element cannot be ignored, and winning and retaining support for efficiency measures will always play a vital role in their success. Most companies remind their employees to think before printing documents, and encourage them to save electricity by turning off appliances when they leave the office. Unfortunately, the same can’t always be said for water usage.

Acknowledging the important role water plays within your organisation, as well as its contribution to your company’s overall environmental impact, is critical. Communicating this correctly at board level will ensure that water efficiency is given the appropriate attention at all levels of the business.

Encouraging your team to be aware of their usage, and its impact both on the business and on the environment, will help ensure that the efficiency measures your company implements perform to their best effect. Aligning efficiency measures with your company’s vision, values and sustainability strategy can elevate what might have previously been viewed as a low-level cost-saving exercise to something greater, driving increased engagement and vastly improved results.

Invest in a long-term water strategy

The most effective approach to managing your water will depend on your business objectives. While the simplest water efficiency measures can have a measurable short-term impact on your water efficiency, a longer term strategic approach is needed to make ongoing improvements.

This involves developing an in-depth understanding of the role water plays in your operations. From this, it’s possible to identify and implement a range of more personalised efficiency measures , ranging from quick fixes through to long term projects, to deliver sustainable results.

Often the highest-impact improvements require significant investment in infrastructure, processes or technology. A strong water management strategy is key to ensure the right level of internal support and a viable business plan for executing the required changes.

By understanding how water affects your business – the impact on its profit margins, the level of risk it presents, and the opportunity for improving matters – your business will be better place to prioritise, plan and execute a long term water management strategy that will deliver the results you need.

Develop your business’s water management strategy

Total Water Solutions work in close partnership with businesses to help them design, plan and implement long-term water efficiency strategies which measurably impact their business objectives.

To find out more about how we can support your business to take a bespoke, strategic approach to water usage, read our case studies or contact us to find out more.

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