WATER – “THE BLUE GOLD”
What is the most valuable treasure on our globe – Diamond! gold! silver! platinum! Noooo!!!! it’s a very simple thing of daily use “ WATER“. Though 73% of our land is covered with water, 97% of it is saline, useless for drinking and irrigation. From the remaining 2.5% is fresh water and only 0.002% of it is potable which is also converting saline at alarming rate. Studies explore, “Industrial water use accounted for 5-10% of global freshwater withdrawals”. Hence, it should be our first priority “To Reduce Water Consumption in Industry.”
Every dictionary defines ‘treasure’ as collection of most valuable, scarcely founded items. This definition of treasure is perfectly fit for water. Diamond, gold…. etc. are rare on our planet but if we consider yet known universe, it is found that these are present in ample amount; but water? None of the space agency found water on any of the known accessible celestial body in the form that is useful for origin and survival of life.
Water provides a suitable environment for origin of life. As a universal solvent it has ability to wash away lot of things and help us to live clean. It provides a matrix for all the life processes inside the living beings.
Surprisingly only water has a rare quality different from other compounds. All things contract after cooling while water expands below 4°C. This “anomalous ” behavior gives the chance of surviving marine life on polar regions.
As a “Law of Conservation” amount of water cannot go down or rise up. It always remains constant.
Then why should we worry??
Yes! the amount remains same but due to our lethargic behavior, percentage of fresh water is going down and that of saline water is rising up.
Water Consumption in Industry
We spend around 109,980 hours of our lives at work, and therefore, this is where we fulfil most of our water usage. Indeed, industries and public institutions use over 25% of water used in most major cities. The majority of all industrial water use is from the cooling of power plants.
Reduce Water Consumption by industries is important because it can lower water withdrawals from local water sources thus increasing water availability and improving community relations, increasing productivity per water input, lowering wastewater discharges and their pollutant load, reducing thermal energy consumption and, potentially, processing cost.
How To Save And Use Water More Efficiently in Industries
Reducing industrial water consumption is a means of addressing the global water crisis. It can be achieved in industry through:
- a combination of changing behaviour
- modifying and/or replacing equipment with water saving equipment
- increasing internal reuse.
The following strategies are recommended to Reduce Water Consumption influentially in industries:
Spread the Word
Thread water conservation into the fabric of your workplace culture by educating your employees and colleagues. You can do this by:
- running water conservation workshops
- implementing water usage reports
- providing water targets for the company to aim for
- electing an individual in the workplace who is responsible for checking the water metres and monitoring the water usage during working hours.
Change the Habits
There are many little steps we can take to contribute to big strides of water conservation.
- Don’t wash your office mugs under running water; fill a bowl instead.
- Consider, also, whether items require washing.
- Reuse your water glass throughout the day.
- Consider installing a rainwater butt on your premises.
- recycle non-potable water that is not drinking quality water for washing windows or outside surfaces, topping up your toilet cisterns, watering plants and grass, and even cleaning your cars.
Adjust Your Facilities
- Replacing workplace facilities those use an excess amount of water, with more efficient products will not only save water, but also saves you money.
- Using a systematic approach to water conservation in the workplace can cut water usage by up to 30%.
- Avoid using bottle top feeding watercooler. The bottle needs to be replenished when it runs out, this increases the use of plastic, and carries a large environmental footprint. Often, spillages occur with the bottles often causing spillages onto the office carpet – and on the employees themselves!
Some typical operational changes for reducing water consumption at the operational level are:
- developing a regular inspection programme for piping and hoses
- reducing water consumption for cleaning (including switching to dry technologies)
- finding multiple uses for water.
- In order for operational changes to be successful, the changes must be thoroughly planned, well implemented and followed by evaluating and monitoring activities.
Inspection Programme for Piping and Hoses
The identification of leaks is simple: wherever water consumption rises above the base level, the presence of some form of water loss is likely. Indications include dampness, rust marks or swelling boards.
- To locate leaks, use submeters to look for a trend of increased usage that cannot be associated with increased production activities.
- Conduct regular inspection of equipment or areas where leaks could occur, like pipe-work joints, connections and fittings. Significant leaks can often be detected by listening in the absence of other noises.
Minimise Water Use for Cleaning
Water use for cleaning can be further reduced if water from internal processes is used for cleaning.
- Use brooms, squeegees and dry vacuum cleaners to clean surfaces before washing with water.
- Use washing equipment that has aerated spray nozzles with shut-off valves.
- Fit hoses with high-pressure, low-volume nozzles with shut-off valves.
- Where possible, mop floors instead of hosing.
- Switch from wet carpet cleaning methods (e.g. steam cleaning) to dry power methods or spot cleaning.
- Sweep parking, paved, plant and path areas rather than hosing, unless it is required for health regulations.
- Reconsider the need to wash building exteriors or other outside structures.
- Reduce the frequency of cleaning external equipment and floors where possible.
- Change window-cleaning schedules from ‘regular’ to ‘as required’ and use squeegees.
- Wash vehicles only as needed.
- Limit the use of high-pressure sprayers, unless they are needed to protect human health and maintain safety.
- For equipment that needs to be cleaned regularly, consider using process water from other areas.
- Consider alternative methods of cleaning, such as high-pressure air jets and/or vacuums.
- Where possible, wash items in water baths rather than under sprinklers.
- Agitate rinse baths with air or mechanically, to increase rinse water life and efficiency.
- Use scrapers and brooms to remove residue build-up in plant machinery.
- Regularly check that spray nozzles are aimed correctly.
A small modification in existing equipment can result in substantial water savings.
- Install trigger-operated guns on hoses so that operators can use less water during clean up.
- Change taps, nozzles and shower fixtures to high pressure, low volume alternatives.
- Add timers and/or pedals to assure water is used sparingly and efficiently.
- Adjust flows to the minimum required to maintain performance.
- Install submetering systems.
- Install in-line strainers on sprayer heads.
- Adjust pump cooling and water flushing to minimum required for operations.
Water Saving Equipment
The most popular water saving equipment for oil industries is reusing process water for cooling towers. To achieve significant water savings, a greywater treatment system can treat process water to allow internal reuse.
- As appliances and equipment wear out, replace them with water-saving models.
- Install water saving toilet systems (e.g. low flush, vacuum, dehydration, or composting toilets), adjust flush valves.
- Install tap aerators and high efficiency showerheads.
- Choose conveying systems that use water efficiently.
- Replace high-volume hoses with high-pressure, low-volume cleaning systems.
Reuse Process Water
Investigate actual water quality needed for internal processes and reuse water within the business whenever possible.
Possible treatment options for water reuse include: waste stabilisation ponds, aerated ponds, trickling filters, vertical flow constructed wetland, hybrid constructed wetland, free surface constructed wetland and horizontal flow constructed wetland.
- Reuse water for process washing
- Industrial fire protection
- In production line
- pH adjustment
Disadvantages through Reduce Water Consumption
- Increased energy consumption from replacing wet cooling systems with an air-cooled system
- possible increase in wastewater contaminant concentrations
- Increased maintenance requirements and equipment costs may occur
Though a few disadvantages of applying measures for “Reduce Water Consumption” are there but are negligible with compared to advantages it offers for wellbeing of the society and environment!
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Tag: Environmental Health & Safety