Water usage has long been a point of contention in America. Water rights are the principal issue in areas where access has traditionally been limited, and water usage enters the picture wherever water supplies are being monitored for shared use.
Water used in manufacturing is vital to many industries, and keeping water supplies viable in every part of the country means that every company needs to take part in reducing or controlling their manufacturing water footprint. Remember, it’s not your company alone that impacts water usage, but the collective impact of thousands of manufacturing and agricultural interests across the country that must do their part to prevent potentially critical reduction of water supplies.
A simple survey of your operations sets the stage for analyzing your manufacturing water footprint:
- What is the necessary quality and source of water used in your business?
- Do you recycle or reuse any portion of your current water supply?
- Are there currently any restrictions or regulations affecting your use of water?
- What type of wastewater do you create, and can it be effectively or even profitably recycled?
- What technologies are you currently using to manage your water footprint, and can you save energy and water costs by improving your operations?
Once you have considered your operation’s opportunities to reduce your manufacturing water footprint, it can be beneficial to learn more about how your company fits into the industrial and manufacturing sectors at large.
Corporate and manufacturing water footprints
If you want to dial in more closely to this process, a visit to the Corporate Water Footprints page of waterfootprint.org puts a finer point on it. Beyond social responsibility for your water footprint are real business risks, including interruption of supply chains or operations and financial risks if costs of water usage increase.
Next, you can conduct a production assessment to explore the sustainability of your manufacturing water footprint. The Water Footprint Network has devised scaled assessments that include type of production or manufacturing categories, geographic assessment and water footprint comparison tools for global and regional perspectives.
Using a combination of internal and external auditing tools can give you the proper insights on how your business can move toward a more sustainable water usage. As it turns out, reducing your manufacturing water footprint also has the effect of lightening your energy footprint as well. The costs associated with heating, cooling or treating water are closely tied to energy use.
Start Simple. Be smart.
Simple steps can reduce water waste and take you off the radar of companies for whom regulatory intervention may become a problem in the future.
Not only is reducing your manufacturing water footprint good business, it can be good for your public image and reputation with your clients, and that’s smart in this very public day and age.
About the author:
Darin Martin is Sales Manager of Vermeer Midwest, a leader in new and used industrial equipment sales, rentals and services in the landscape, organic recycling and underground utility construction industries. Founded in 1971, Vermeer Midwest has nine locations across the Midwest and is dedicated to providing full customer support with their parts and services advantage.