Manufacturing: Reduce Your Water Footprint

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Water provides a vital aspect of processing and production across a wide range of manufacturing operations, from consumer products to industrial materials to food and beverage. And as water resources rise in value for manufacturers, sources become threatened, communities become engaged in a struggle for water access, and of course, the cost of this access begins to rise. So what can you do to manage your water usage and keep your plant in operation as water availability rises and falls? And how can you do your part for the community and the environment by cutting back on waste and reducing your water footprint? Try these tips.

1. Conduct an audit. First, determine exactly how much water you’re drawing into your operation from local reservoirs each hour, day, and year. Don’t miss any component of use from intake to output. Including washing, boiler operation, and the water that drives your utilities. This number will be your baseline. Each year—and ideally, each month—review your number and revise your strategy in order to bring it down.

2. Recognize the larger picture. You aren’t the only operation in need of water access, of course, and water isn’t free. Realize that agriculture, industry, and community water use are interdependent, and in north America, these three elements add up to about 1,800 gallons of water use per person, per day. Respect water, manage it carefully, and invest in technologies that can allow your operation to treat water for reuse.

3. Recapture used water. Rely on your audit and your annual/monthly strategy reviews to find ways to recapture and reuse water throughout your plant or operation. Collecting and rechanneling water that does not require treatment before reuse can be an enormous source of cost savings.

4. Eliminate waste. Waste, drainage, and discharge can also be targeted during your regular audits. Reducing the amount of water that moves through your plant in excess of what you need can protect your bottom line while also protecting the environment and the community. A simple audit can often staunch the unnecessary flow of millions of gallons each year. Remember that treating and reusing water is energy and cost intensive, and some of these costs can be avoided by simply reducing the flow in the first place.

For more information on how to conduct your water usage audit and how to cut costs and streamline your manufacturing operation, arrange a consultation with the Little Rock staffing and business management experts at CSS.

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