using less water

Why Reducing Water Consumption Makes Commercial (As well as Environmental) Sense

Throughout the world, industry and commerce are significant users of water. It’s an essential resource for nearly all businesses, as well as individuals and communities.

Almost every manufacturing and industrial process uses water during one or more stages of production. This may include using water in the product itself, or washing, cooling, transferring, treatment, transporting, diluting, cleaning equipment and plant, as well as refreshment and sanitation for workers within factories and offices.

Some of the industries that use large amounts of water include food and drink, chemicals, paper, agriculture, homecare products and oil and gas. In the UK for example, according to Future Water*, the food industry is one of the major users of water, taking roughly 10% of all industrial water abstractions and an estimated further 10% of total industrial water use from the public supply.

Business Benefits of Using Less Water

Most businesses are looking in to, or are taking active measures to reduce the amount of water they’re using. In many places, businesses pay for their water through metering. This provides a direct financial incentive to use water more efficiently and reduce consumption (it’s important of course to ensure they’re reducing water use without compromising hygiene, health or the effectiveness of industrial processes).

Businesses and commercial organisations can reduce their water consumption by promoting efficient water use within their organisations, using products that use less water and adapting industrial processes so they become more efficient.  This can have significant benefits, not only on the organisations themselves but for the community as a whole: making it easier to meet local and national demands and reducing the strain on natural resources and infrastructure.

industrial water usage

Water Shortages

Water shortages are becoming a serious issue in many countries around the world. For example, Lake Baikal in Russia, which is estimated to hold around one-fifth of the earth’s unfrozen freshwater reserves, is currently at its lowest level in over 30 years. Among the causes cited for this is climate change, but also the use of water to generate electric power.

While industrial processes, such as power generation, are likely to be contributing to the shortage of water in Lake Baikal, things look like they are about to hit crisis point in California.

Recently NASA senior water scientist  Jay Famiglietti wrote in an Op-Ed for the Los Angeles Times that California has roughly about one year’s worth of water supply left in its snowpack, reservoirs, and groundwater storage systems. He states that NASA data shows that total water storage in California has been in steady decline since at least 2002, although groundwater depletion has been going on since the early 20th century. In other words, California is running out of water, and it needs acting on urgently.

Overcoming Shortages through Innovation

It is still possible to be successful in the face of shortages. For example, despite a world cocoa shortage, the Swiss confectionery manufacturer Lindt & Sprüngli Group is growing fast and winning new market shares. The organisation’s success is down to its consistently high pace of innovation, continuous geographical expansion, and dynamic development of its own retail network.

To illustrate how much water a pigging system can save, the well-known Australian wine company Orlando Wines, a long-standing customer of HPS, estimate they are finding water savings of 40 mega-litres per year. This is combined with wine savings of 440,000 litres per year. Here’s a case study on this wine manufacturer’s pigging system.

Reducing Water Consumption through Pigging

As a business, cutting down on water usage will reduce your carbon footprint, save energy, lower your bills and improve your environmental credentials.

We’ve written previous posts about how pigging systems can reduce water usage and other benefits of pigging, but saving water through pigging systems can have a range of other advantages as well. For example, it can speed up changeover times, recover saleable product which may have been sent to drain, increase efficiency and hence profits. That’s in addition to reducing water consumption. Typically an HPS product recovery or pigging solution will pay for itself in less than 12 months. Pigging also helps environmental sustainability in other ways, as shown in this infographic.

Although water management is complex, using less water in industrial processes nearly always makes commercial, as well as environmental sense.

Find Out More

HPS is committed to effective environmental management and is an ISO 14001 Certified Product Recovery Solutions and Pigging Systems Specialist.

For more information about reducing water consumption through pigging and product recovery solutions, then please get in touch.

*Future Water: The Government’s water strategy for England Presented to Parliament by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs by Command of Her Majesty February 2008

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