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7 Steps for Developing a Water Management Plan

As Part 3 of our Water Management Blog Series, we’re bringing you a guide for developing your own Water Management Plan.

A good plan, whether a garden planner, a to-do list, or any other form, can make you more efficient and productive. But before you can determine how your facility locations can reduce spend by saving cost on water, you need to know how much you’re currently using and set targets for reducing that amount. Read on to find out how to develop your own plan, adapted from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

1. Set Water Management Goals and Policy

To develop a comprehensive strategic plan, set specific water use reduction targets.

Come up with targets, and use those targets to engineer methods of saving water. You can consult the Laws and Requirements website of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to learn more about what laws you need to follow when drafting your water management plan.

Water management should be an ongoing goal for your company. When communicating with your senior management, make it clear that this strategy is long-term and ultimately beneficial for your organization. 

Likewise, bring senior management and other staff in on the plan as well. If everybody knows how to track water use and keep up equipment, it will be far easier to keep the team on-board for longer. Make water management a key pillar of your organization by involving everyone from the beginning.

2. Assess Current Water Uses and Costs

To begin development of your water management plan, start by analyzing your current use and costs. Take a look at how much water your organization is already using and how much it costs you over a specific period of time, such as a week, month, or year. This will help you establish a baseline so you can plan for how to reduce it.

Start by figuring out your marginal per-unit cost of water and sewer services, and verify that it lines up with the rate structure you’re signed up for. Reach out to your provider to see if the service has water efficiency recommendations; they may be able to provide you with immediate suggestions you can implement. They may even offer rebates or other incentives for more efficient water management. 

Once you have all the data, plot out your water use over time and determine if it is increasing, decreasing, or plateaued. Keep an eye out for patterns and brainstorm methods to address pe

3. Develop a Water Balance

With the data you’ve gathered, plan a water balance. This means comparing the total water supply baseline with the water use of equipment and other applications. 

Audit your equipment by keeping track of its flow rate, model number, condition, and other identifying information to help you identify places that water management may not be at its most efficient. 

Once you have this information and any other relevant stats for water use, use that to determine your water balance by comparing the end-use water consumption to your total supply. The difference between them represents losses, which can help you figure out where to save water.

4. Find Water Efficiency Opportunities and Economics

Now that you know where the gaps in efficiency are, you can begin to address them. Look to increase the efficiency of the following common sources of water efficiency through maintenance, repair, or replacement:

  • Water-Efficient Landscaping
  • Water-Efficient Irrigation
  • Toilets and Urinals
  • Faucets
  • Boiler and Steam Systems
  • Single-Pass Cooling Equipment
  • Cooling Tower Management
  • Commercial Kitchen Equipment
  • Laboratory and Medical Equipment
  • Other Water-Intensive Processes
  • Alternative Water Sources

5. Develop an Implementation Plan

With all your information, you can start putting together your plan. Set goals and benchmarks to evaluate progress, prioritize the most important features, and assign teams if necessary to implement changes and monitor progress. 

Having a detailed plan will ensure that you can more easily track your progress over time. Factor in times to evaluate your progress and also to provide education for your team. Reminders and refreshing of goals can help keep a water management plan moving over time.

6. Measure Progress

Review your progress frequently and make adjustments as needed. A water management plan is not a once-and-done affair—some flexibility will help you adjust to equipment failure, rising costs, and other setbacks. 

Keep your team updated on successes. Seeing the results of everyone’s hard work helps keep people motivated!

7. Plan for Contingencies

No matter how much planning you do, you may end up finding that setbacks—such as droughts, emergency situations, or other problems—arise. Plan for these in advance as best as you can. How will your organization respond to a shortage?

Following these steps will help get your organization on track for an effective water management strategy. If you need assistance in implementing a new water management plan, contact the Transblue franchise nearest you—we’ll be happy to help you identify and implement necessary changes to make your water use more efficient.

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