Water is not usually at the forefront of an organizations’ sustainability targets, but it is one of the earth’s most valuable resources — widely used in commercial and industrial businesses, in applications like cooling towers, irrigation systems, indoor appliances, and manufacturing processes.
Whereas automated building and energy management systems are all the rage when it comes to making sustainability improvements, the focus on water often falls behind. But water management solutions exist, and they can track water use in real-time, provide up-to-date data, show where problems are occurring at any moment, and provide risk assessments, as well as solutions.
So, what can a company do to implement smart water management strategies that eliminate water waste, conserve this valuable resource, and help them achieve their ESG and sustainability goals?
Steps for Getting Started
Up front, a business should outline a water management plan, beginning with evaluating what water systems they currently have, where they use water, and how those systems are operated on each property. From there, priorities and goals can be established, and then metrics can be tracked.
Step 1. Survey site or properties
A survey or assessment of all areas of a property that use water will provide a wealth of information about current water consumption and existing infrastructure. A deep dive into the gathered data will offer insight into areas that are using more water than necessary and give visibility into potential areas of water efficiency improvement.
Step 2. Establish baseline and set goals
One important thing an organization should do is establish a baseline for its water use, and ask themselves:
- How much are they currently using?
- What do the last few years’ worth of water bills look like?
- Is the usage consistent over the years?
- Are some areas of a site using more water than others?
With the site assessment and establishment of water use baselines, organizations can pinpoint and prioritize areas they want to focus on first. Then, they should ask themselves:
- What has been done in the past when it comes to water use efficiency and infrastructure or management changes?
- How did those upgrades or changes work?
- Were any water reduction goals set previously?
- Did they fulfill those goals — and how so?
- What new sustainability goals should be established to reduce or eliminate water waste?
Organizations should ensure they set goals that are both achievable and sustainable.
Step 3. Cost-benefit proposal
Businesses can develop a cost-benefit proposal for various smart water solutions to fit their operations. From smart irrigation systems to leak and flow monitoring services, evaluating the return on investment for water efficiency initiatives makes the choice easier to get budget approval, especially if it will also provide metrics towards ESG goals.
When evaluating various options, create a plan to show which properties or areas of a site can save the most water, are easy to implement, and which of those potential tools best fit into their budgets. From there, prioritize and move forward with the initiatives that make the most sense financially and operationally.
Step 4: Track water management strategies
Once a business has decided to implement smart water management strategies, they must continue to track water use and see where they are moving forward on the goals they’ve set. Ensuring the business has real-time water usage data available is important to provide on-demand reports and metrics to their sustainability team.
Ensure the right team at the organization has the right water data available to them. From operations to facilities to sustainability — data continuity and visibility lets actionable water management decisions be made.
If a company is only looking at energy, fossil fuel use, and emissions, it could be missing a big piece of its ESG puzzle, both in terms of resource management and financial savings. Making water a part of sustainability goals and implementing smart water management strategies is key to eliminating water waste and conserving this valuable resource. To learn more about how to meet ESG targets with smart water management, download our free eBook.