Monitoring water consumption

Monitoring water consumption
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All sectors
Low cost
Total cost savings:
Savings depend on actions taken thanks to measure and monitoring (identification of leaks, equipment improvement, etc.)
Premises and operation areas:
Office building, Production building
Size of company:
Micro (less than 10), Small (less than 50), Medium (less than 250), Large (more than 250)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
What is in it for you:
Save water by monitoring consumption in five easy steps.
Descriptive information:

Companies use water in essential and non-essential processes. It is a valuable natural resource that needs to be used wisely and economically. Monitoring water consumption is critical to identifying areas for improvement. 

Five steps to identify improvements:

Step1: Understand what is driving water use in your organisation. Key performance indicators (KPIs), such as water consumption (m3) per tonne of products, is a useful metric in the manufacturing sector. Online water footprint calculators (see links) are a good place to start, and remember that monitoring is an ongoing process.

Step 2: Choose indicators carefully and decide what data are to be collected to calculate the chosen KPIs (4 to 8 is optimal).

Step 3: The earlier you begin collecting the data the better. It is important to use common units of measurement for water: litres or cubic metres. You should make one person responsible for collecting the data to ensure measurements are taken frequently and consistently. Information on water consumption can come from examining water bills, taking direct measurements, or estimating water use. You can use an already existing water usage tracking spreadsheet to record meter readings and measure the usage in terms of the chosen KPI (see links).

Step 4: Analyse the data to identify areas for possible improvements and cost-savings. Graphs and charts help to 'visualise' and inteprete the data. Benchmarking also helps to improve performance by comparing with other companies or buildings within the company (i.e. Which building/company performs the best and why?) With this information, it is possible to determine best practices and apply them to other buildings.

Step 5: Develop an action plan so the company can compare the cost/benefits of each action and prioritise them. Action plans include key implementation steps for each measure, team responsibilities, timescales for completion, technical requirements, environmental or cost savings, and so on.

Measuring water consumption should be viewed as a process geared towards continual improvement. It is important to regularly review the process and data (ideally quarterly), giving insight into progress and the results achieved thanks to the actions implemented.

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