Water is the foundation of life and all livelihoods. It usually comes from a tap and disappears down a drain. But, getting the right amount of water of the right quality to the right place at the right time is indispensable for all growth and development. ‘Business as usual’ will mean the world will miss the water-related 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by a wide margin.
Up to 40% of the world’s populations will live in seriously water-stressed river basins by 2030, reported UNU-INWEH. Furthermore, 2.5% of the total available water i.e. 71%, is fresh. Without effective water management, 60% of the freshwater from 592 transboundary aquifers will not support a projected population of 9.7 bn by 2050. Governments with the help of environmental agencies are working to reduce water usage and increase water efficiency. In this read, you’ll come to know about water management practices around the globe.
1. Water Efficient Landscaping
Landscape serves more purposes than just being aesthetically pleasing. Comparatively, traditional landscapes require supplemental water to thrive in most locations. Water efficient landscapes using native and other climate-appropriate plant materials can reduce irrigation water use to better withstand drought, reduce drought loss or damage, and require less time and money to maintain. Depending on climate, landscape irrigation may compromise a substantial portion of a facility’s overall water use. Therefore, integrating water-efficient landscaping as part of an overall water efficiency program is important.
A landscape’s arrangement doesn’t just make things beautiful; it can affect the environment as well as social behaviors. They’ve always said that beauty is deeper than what we can see.
Nowadays, the best practice is designing, installing, and maintaining an irrigation system that efficiently applies the appropriate amount of supplemental water. This set of info addresses only water-efficient landscaping.
2. Replace Restroom Fixtures
Toilets and urinals can account for nearly one-third of a building’s water consumption. Inefficient or poorly maintained toilet and urinal fixtures are a major source of water waste. Thus, significant savings are possible in this area. Several types of toilets and urinals are available for residential, commercial, and industrial use. Manufacturers need to ensure that fixtures are water efficient and that they choose the most appropriate fixture for specific applications.
High efficient toilets (HET) must not consume more than 1.28 gallons per flush (gpf), while high efficient urinals (HEU) utilize no more than 0.5 gpf.
– United States Environmental Protection Agency
Tank toilets, flushometer toilets, non-water urinals, flushometer urinals, and flush valves are common in residential and commercial buildings. Toilets and urinals must synchronize with electronic sensors and valves that automatically flush the fixture. Automatic flushing does not save water, but they intend to provide health and sanitary benefits because the user does not have to touch the flushing mechanism.
3. Faucets & Showerheads
Usually, most of the multipurpose federal buildings have faucets in restrooms, kitchens, and laboratories. Many installations have showers, including barracks, family housing, recreation facilities, and locker rooms. Significant opportunity for water and energy savings exists for these fixtures when upgrading to efficient technology and employing conservation practices.
Plumbing Supply Fittings specifies that public lavatory faucets (all faucets other than those defined as private), other than metering, must have a maximum flow rate of 0.5 gallon per minute (gpm).
– Canadian Standards Association
High efficient faucets and showerheads are available in the marketplace. Moreover, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a specification for residential bathroom lavatory faucets and faucet accessories (e.g. aerators and laminar devices) requiring a maximum flow rate of 1.5 gpm or less. All the renovation is in accordance with the mandatory standards for all lavatory.
4. Water Efficient Irrigation
Scientists and technologists ensure water efficiency from the initial irrigation system design phase through installation to ensure optimal performance. Consistent management and maintenance are also essential. Failure to do so can result in significant losses in system efficiency from poor management, improper system design, installation, or maintenance.
If the world’s populations continue to grow at the current rate, by the end of the century the world will have over 10 billion people. Feeding this many people will require more food in the next 75 years than all the food ever produced in human history. This food will require lots of water and more efficient methods of irrigation.
With the irrigation system hardware operating efficiently, it is important to consider the irrigation schedule, which dictates the amount and timing of the water applied. Overwatering can cause more damage to plant materials than underwatering and can damage streets, curbs, other paving, and building foundations. An important efficiency concept associated with irrigation systems is distribution uniformity. Extra water is often applicable because the system is not uniformly distributing water. Uneven distribution of water grossly over irrigates the already-green areas.
Whether installing a new irrigation system or retrofitting an old one, there are many options to improve water efficiency. Most importantly, the person(s) responsible for the irrigation system should have proper training in system installation, maintenance, and management.
5. Steam Boiler Systems
We commonly find the use of steam boilers in large heating systems, institutional kitchens, or in facilities requiring large amounts of process steam. This equipment consumes varying amounts of water depending on system size and the amount of condensate returned.
It just so happens that there are high-efficiency boilers on the market these days that use up to 98.5 percent of the fuel they consume. And, they produce the steam at optimal cost.
To maintain water efficiency in operations and maintenance, develop a routine inspection and implement a boiler tuning program. Furthermore, provide proper insulation on steam pipes and obtain the services of a water treatment specialist to prevent corrosion. To attain the goals in this field, consult with experts in your area.
6. Single-Pass Cooling Equipment
Single-pass or once-through cooling systems provide an opportunity for significant water savings. In these systems, water circulates once through a piece of equipment and disposes of down the drain. Types of equipment that typically use single-pass cooling include CAT scanners, degreasers, hydraulic equipment, condensers, air compressors, welding machines, vacuum pumps, ice machines, x-ray equipment, and air conditioners.
Likewise, installation cost and subsequent payback period of packaged or closed-loop systems vary with the complexity of the system. Payback periods, taking into account a 50 percent utility incentive, may be as low as 1.5 years.
Similarly, to remove the same heat load, single-pass systems require 40 times more water than a cooling tower operated at five cycles of concentration. To maximize water savings, we can either introduce advancements in single-pass cooling equipment or eliminate this cycle.
7. Cooling Tower Management
Cooling towers dissipate heat from recirculating water used to cool chillers, air conditioners, or other process equipment to the ambient air. Although, cooling towers reject heat through the process of evaporation. Therefore, by design, cooling towers use significant amounts of water. The thermal efficiency and longevity of the cooling tower and equipment depend on the proper management of recirculated water.
As cooling tower technology developed over the years, so has its effectiveness. More than 98% of potentially wasted water undergoes recycling process. This drives down the cost to purchase and operate cooling tower within admissible limit of water.
Usually, water leaves a cooling tower system in one of four ways: evaporation, drift, blowdown & overflow/basin leaks. A key parameter used to evaluate cooling tower operation is the cycle of concentration or concentration ratio. From a water efficiency standpoint, you want to maximize the cycles of concentration. This will minimize blowdown water quantity and reduce make-up water demand. Dissolved solids increase as cycles of concentration increase, which can cause scale and corrosion problems unless carefully controlled. In addition to carefully controlling blowdown, other water efficiency opportunities arise from using alternate sources of make-up water. We can recycle and reuse water from other facility equipment for cooling tower make-up with little or no pre-treatment.
8. Alternative Water Sources
Facilities may have water uses that can meet with non-potable water from alternative water sources. On a whole, alternative water sources are sustainable sources of water, not supplied from fresh surface water or groundwater, that offset the demand for freshwater. Examples of alternative water sources include:
- Onsite Reclaimed Wastewater
- Air Handling Condensate
- Purified Water System Discharge
Alternative water is often treated to non-potable standards, meaning it is not safe for human consumption. Common uses of alternative water include landscape irrigation, ornamental pond and fountain filling, cooling tower make-up, and toilet and urinal flushing. Be gentle is water management, it will be beneficial for the next generation.
Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth, these are one and the same fight. We must connect the dots between climate change, water scarcity, energy shortages, global health, food security and women’s empowerment. Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all.
– Ban Ki-moon