Water audit is a systematic process that provides a detailed information on the facility’s water consumption and recommend ways to reduce and increase overall efficiency of the facility’s water usage. Water audits take into account both water quantity and quality of the facility which in turn helps identify potential alternative sources of water usage.
The primary objective of a water audit is to obtain water balance of the facility or system in scope by measuring the water flow from withdrawal, through the distribution systems of consumption until the final discharge.
Preliminary Water Survey and Development of Water Consumption Inventory
A preliminary water survey shall identify key areas of study to be included in the Water audit. An inventory of all water consumption points is developed at this stage by identifying every point of water consumption during the survey. Mechanical Systems such as Cooling Towers require certain amount of water to be bled off and replaced as a control measure to avoid scaling. For these systems, the blow down system must also be taken into account in the inventory.
The inventory must also elucidate on the water quality and treatment of it during the flow points to provide more information for control measures.
Water Mapping and Comprehensive Water Balances
Water quantity monitoring can be performed by reviewing the meter readings on a regular basis and having a systematic logging system in place. Tracking water meter readings provide a baseline of the water consumption in the facility and it is pertinent for water conservation, that these readings are taken as frequently as possible to identify and locate and leaks.
Review of Maintenance Practices
During the water audit, existing maintenance practices at each point of water consumption identified in the Inventory is reviewed. A Water audit checklist is prepared based on the preliminary water survey to identify what preventive maintenance mechanisms are in place (if any), is there a cost-benefit analysis performed on the systems of water consumption in place and is this reviewed by all stakeholders etc. These questions are posed to the stakeholders during the review stage to identify areas for continuous improvement.
Water Quality Assessments
Water Quality is measured using state of the art instruments and testing kits for monitoring at the input and discharge points. Assessing the water quality at discharge points help analyze ways of reuse and recycling to form a closed loop system that enables in water conservation.
Recommendations and Identification of Strategies
Once all the required information is gathered and reviewed, an action plan / strategies can be established in compliance with the relevant litigations and standards in place. Strategies are recommended by the auditors or brainstormed during the final Audit Review stage. The action plan must identify and assign responsibility for implementation.
The strategies must include specific water consumption reduction goals, which are easily achievable and can be tracked. For continuous improvement, the action Plan must be periodically reviewed and provide a mechanism to do the same. Water savings through Reuse and Recycling where possible must also be identified to improve overall efficiency of the system.
Training programs across each level of the management must also be organized at regular intervals for creating awareness and implementing continuous improvement across the system.