Question & Answer: As part of my Engineering class I am going to be doing a water assessment to an…..

As part of my Engineering class I am going to be doing a water assessment to an industry. I need from you very good reccomendations on how to help the industry to save water and control costs.

Expert Answer

Approach to this problem should be as follows:

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1. Internal assessment or audit of the water usage: Understand the current water usage and future projections in the industry. Focus should be to understand various drives of the water usage and also what kinds of water is being used (potable or non-potable). Ex: manufacturing process, equipment cooling, equipment cleaning, employee personal use etc. Assessment may be focused on following usage verticals ensuring they cover all critical water usage drivers:

a. Water usage on inbound operational activity (logistics, raw material handling etc.)

b. Water usage during manufacturing/operations (equipment cooling, process usage, equipment cleaning etc.)

c. Water usage during maintenance (scheduled and forced)

d. Water Usage on outbound operational activities (logistics, finished product handling etc)

e. Employee usage (restrooms, pools, spas etc.)

2. Compare findings to benchmarks: Carry out benchmark study to find out water usage for same industry in different country and/or similar processes in different industry anywhere in the world. Successful case studies of of water saving across industry and country will provide useful insight. Go after sustainability reports or annual reports of firms having successful stories.

3. Identify the gaps in practices and recommend: internal assessment and benchmarks should be used to identify the gaps and then propose the remedial solutions.

Some good recommendations can be as follow:

a. Regulating flow of water in the process, calibrate the flow to ensure minimum usage without affecting the processes

b. Waterless process if feasible will help remove the need to use water, techno-economical feasibility will be required as it will require some technical changes in the machinery

c. Make processes close loop for water usage, as discharged water can be reused after some treatment

d. Replace or modify existing equipments to minimize the water usage

e. Fix any leaks immediately

f. Use non-potable waters in place of potable waters for all operational activities

g. Rainwater harvesting practices to be adopted, self sustainable practices to be adopted to ensure minimum dependence of additional water

h. Create industry wise awareness about importance of water and how saving water can additionally save cost. Ensure buy-in from all employees

i. Develop a culture that takes pride in achieving efficiency in water conservation plans

J. Award and penalty schemes can be developed where best performing companies can be awarded and worst performing companies can be penalized based on their water usage pattern

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