Water is where many of the impacts of climate change will be felt first and most acutely. Changes in water availability will not be uniform, with wet areas becoming wetter and dry areas becoming drier. In fact, increased evaporation rates and altered weather patterns can result in bigger floods and drier droughts within the same region.
The impact of climate change on the world’s freshwater resources is further exasperated by the growing global population. By 2050, world population is expected to reach almost 9 billion, causing 65% of the population to be exposed to water stress at some level (MET OFFICE). Water use has been growing at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century (FAO). This trend can be partly attributed to people becoming more accustomed to water intensive lifestyles.
Sustainable Water Management
Sustainable water management begins with measurement and transparency; it’s about knowing how much water is being used, where and when, and then prioritising where water reductions can occur.
To optimise water resources within a business, initially it is better to look at operational water consumption as the company has a direct influence over reductions. The best way to monitor a business’ water consumption is through the roll out of AMR (Automated Meter Reading) which provide remote meter readings up to every 15 minutes. Unusual patterns in water consumption and leakage can then be immediately identified and rectified. For Whitbread’s Premier Inn, AMR identified, through peaks in consumption at around 11am, that inefficient housekeeping practices led to a preventable wastage of water.
Water Efficient Technology
Changes to employee and customer behaviour are the most challenging but often the cheapest way to save water. There are many technologies on the market that make significant water savings with a good return on investment, especially when combined with behavioural change initiatives. For example, in a hotel room low flow shower heads and taps, dual flush toilets and encouraging guests to only wash towels when necessary can significantly reduce the water use per room. A roll out of low flow shower heads across Premier Inn (approximately 40,000 rooms) saved approximately 500,000m3 a year, the equivalent of over 200 Olympic sized swimming pools
Recycling water creates a sustainable, dependable and controllable source of supply which is essential for business stability. It reduces the pressure put on less renewable sources, such as groundwater and surface water, which is needed for continued ecosystem functioning.
Reduce mains water consumption by up to 40%
This system captures the water used for showering or bathing and, after treatment through an ultra-filtration membrane system, is fed back in to the property for use in non-potable purposes such as flushing toilets, irrigation and laundry.
Greywater recycling is ideally suited to applications such as hotels and leisure centres due to the nature of their water use and a convenient supply versus demand equilibrium, i.e. the amount of water supplied from showering and bathing balances with the demand of toilet flushing.
Reduce mains water consumption by up to 30%
This system collects rainwater, which is filtered and fed back into the property through a simple yet robust treatment system, ensuring only the cleanest water is utilised for non-potable purposes such as vehicle washing, flushing toilets and irrigation.
Waterscan has been supporting hospitality businesses to lower water bills, use less water and become more socially responsible for over 20 years. If you would like to review your approach to water management, email email@example.com or call 01243 839 880 and mention you are a BHA member to benefit from a free desktop audit.