Water audit in India

Water audit in India

Historically, the water auditing process has been quite inconsistent in India. This represents perhaps one of the greatest shortcomings in an otherwise highly reliable utility services sector.  Many utility managers compile at least a cursory water audit each year; however, without specific requirements, most of the water utilities conduct infrequent water audits, and therefore are likely suffering notable losses.

Thus, the industry has begun to address the longstanding need to better establish accountability in its operations.

A water audit is an accounting procedure. The purpose of a water auditis to accurately determine the amount of unaccounted-for water (UAW) in a water distribution system. UAW is calculated from verified supply and consumption records, factoring in various estimated usage figures.

Typical steps involved in a water audit include:

  1. The water use inventory
  • It is important that facility executives develop an understanding of exactly how and where their facility uses water. To do this, an inventory of all water use points in the facility with flow rates must be developed.
  • In addition to identifying all water use points and flow rates, the inventory should identify if the water being used is hot or cold, or if it undergoes special filtering or treatment. Reducing water use in applications that use hot or treated water will produce savings that go beyond solely the cost of the water.
  • When completing the inventory, pay attention to any unexplained water flow. As piping systems are modified over the years, it is easy to lose track of what piping serves what equipment. Don’t be surprised to find water flowing from equipment that is no longer used or even installed.
  1. Metering
  • Unfortunately, most facilities only have a single, master water meter. Readings from master meters will provide an indication of how a facility compares to other facilities, but it will not show where to look for areas where water use can be reduced, particularly if the facility is large or complex.
  • Narrowing use down to possible areas where use can be reduced requires submetering.
  • Again, the key to gaining useful information from submeters is to have the meters read on a regular basis, and as frequently as possible. Frequent readings help to quickly identify and locate leaks.
  1. Review maintenance practices
  • Preventive maintenance programs have long been recognized as effective tools for improving system performance while reducing overall operating costs. With water use historically being an ignored or low priority item, chances are few preventive maintenance steps have been put in place to specifically address water use.
  • Does anyone ever test once-through cooling systems to determine that they are operating at the proper flow rate?
  • How often are cooling towers and boilers checked to see that the make-up water systems are operating properly?
  • Do building occupants even know that they can and should report instances of excessive water use or waste?
  • How often are restrooms checked for faucets that don’t fully shut off or flush valves that leak or stick on?
  • What mechanism is in place to review water using items that are being purchased for use within the facility? For example, refrigeration systems that use once-through water cooling are less expensive and easier to install than closed loop systems. Closed loop systems however, have minimal water requirements.
  • Is there an established procedure that reviews equipment purchases that addresses the issue of water use?
  1. The water efficiency plan
  • Once information has been gathered on how water is being used in the facility, an action plan can be established for reducing water use.
  • The plan should identify who will take responsibility for implementation. It should make certain that individual has the authority and support needed to implement the plan.
  • The water audit should have identified a number of areas in which water savings can be achieved. The water efficiency plan should set the priorities for implementation based on costs, benefits and available manpower.

Benefits

  • Reducing water use in a facility is a win-win situation. Using less water means lower utility costs.
  • It also means reduced chemical treatment costs in systems such as boilers and cooling towers. Finding and eliminating long-standing leaks can create a better work environment for building occupants, as well as reduce damage to building components.
  • Reducing water use can also enhance the public image of a facility. Facility executives should publicize the program’s successes and give credit to those involved. Even something as simple as installing moisture sensors on an irrigation system can improve the facility’s image.

 

 

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