Question Of The Week: Water Conservation Tips

The United Nations has designated March 22 World Water Day, and with that in mind I want to explore new ways to save water. What are some water conservation tips I can apply throughout my facility?

water conservation tipsThe Alliance for Water Efficiency has provided a comprehensive list of water conservation tips for commercial, industrial, and institutional water use. Here are some suggestions from that source:

Auditing and Benchmarking

Compare water use to industry benchmarks if available.

  • Water use benchmarks provide an estimation of the average water use for specific industrial sectors and can be used as a tool to evaluate current consumption patterns among peers.

Conduct a facility audit to quantify water use.

  • Understanding water use will identify savings opportunities, allow appropriate savings targets to be established, and serve as a benchmark from which water savings can be tracked.
  • This should be the first step in a water efficiency program. It may be cost-beneficial to hire a professional with expertise in industrial water use efficiency to carry out an on-site survey.

Investigate the feasibility of the following general options in your operations.

  • Reducing the flow of water.
  • Modifying equipment or installing water saving devices.
  • Replacing existing equipment with more water-efficient equipment.
  • Water treatment, recycling, and reuse.
  • Changing to a waterless process.

Learn from water saving success stories of industry peers.

  • Case studies from industrial peers will provide insight into what works, what doesn’t, and what efficiency solutions are most cost-effective. These details can often be found in sustainability reports or annual reports.


Install water efficient fixtures in restrooms and showering areas.

  • Industrial facilities often have domestic water uses such as toilet flushing, sinks for hand washing, and showering facilities. These represent great opportunities for water savings.
  • Examples of fixtures that can be retrofitted include high-efficiency toilets, high-efficiency urinals, faucet aerators in sinks used for hand washing, and efficient showerheads.

Manage on-site laundry facilities efficiently.

  • Many industrial and commercial facilities consume a considerable amount of water for laundering.
    – For residential style washing machines be sure and select a low water factor. As of January 1, 2011 top and front loading Energy Star clothes washers will be required to have a water factor of 6.0 or less. The Federal standard will be 9.5.
    – Multi-load machines should be set to run efficiently with separate settings for each cycle.
    – If large volumes of laundry are being processed assess the feasibility of installing a tunnel washer.
    – Evaluate costs and benefits for using laundry systems that recycled water or use ozone technology.

Utilize efficient technology in kitchen areas.

  • Kitchen facilities are a likely candidate for reducing water use in any facility. The following are items that can be retrofitted:
    – Rinse dishes with an efficient pre-rinse spray valve
    – Use a dishwasher that meets Energy Star standards
    – If a wok is used retrofit it with a waterless wok
    – Install in-line flow restrictors for dipper wells. Also look for new water efficient dipper well technology
    – Replace boiler based food steamers with boilerless technology
    – Strainers can reduce water used by garbage disposals


Educate employees about the importance of using less water.

  • Creating a workplace culture that focuses and takes pride in efficiency can be a very beneficial component of a water conservation plan. Increased awareness will ensure more staff members are monitoring water use.
  • Things that can be done:
    – Give recognition to those who initiate water-efficiency procedures and processes.
    – Make resource conservation part of performance reviews, especially for line managers.
water conservation tips
Credit: Ryan McVay

For additional information and resources, including specific water conservation tips for equipment, landscaping, and more visit the Alliance for Water Efficiency.

If you have any ideas or experiences to share on how you’ve saved water at your facility, please use the Comments section below.