Have you ever given it a thought about how much water you use at work? Did you know that a typical office uses around 50 litres of water per full-time employee each day? Shocked?

A recent study gives a breakdown of water usage in offices:

Cleaning 1%
Canteen/kitchen 9%
Washing 27%
Urinal Flushing 20%
Toilet Flushing 43%

Water is a priceless resource, yet it is very often taken for granted. As the effects of climate change are becoming clear, it is even more critical to look at our water use and see what we can do to save water.

Many organisations use much more water than they actually need, leading to higher than needed expenses and negative environmental impacts. Often measures can be taken that cost little or nothing to implement, but can result in substantial water saving.

How to do it?

It is obvious that every business has different water needs – from a small-scale home-based business to a large manufacturing plant, but almost all could benefit from cutting water utilization. Below are some tips which can help in saving this valuable resource:

  1. Create a suggestion and incentive system at your workplace to recognize water-saving ideas.
  2. Publish your organization’s monthly water usage to show how things are progressing toward water-saving goals.
  3. Have maintenance personnel regularly check your office for leaks, drips and other water wastage.
  4. Create a goal of how much water your company can save and plan a celebration once that goal is met.
  5. Ask employees for suggestions on saving water and give prizes for the best ideas.
  6. Write articles on your employee website that highlight water-saving ideas and share case studies about other success stories.
  7. Wash company vehicles as needed rather than on a schedule. Stretch out the time in between washes.
  8. When ice cubes are left from your drink, don’t throw them out; pour them on a plant.
  9. Replace urinals with low-volume models. Urinals can use as much as 5 gallons per flush, while low-volume urinals use only 1 gallon per flush.
  10. Taps left running can waste large volumes of water. In washrooms consider replacing conventional screw taps with self close taps that close automatically after a preset period.
  11. Carrying out a simple “water audit” can be very beneficial, which will allow you to assess your plumbing/fittings for water efficiencies

Once you have identified the instances where water efficiencies can be made, you should build up an action plan, which includes prioritising work, assigning responsibilities and setting timeframes for completion. It is also important to set targets for further improvements. Always remember that this plan is a working document and should be reconsidered regularly.

Do More, Use Less

To reduce water consumption, a change in outlook is necessary. If you commit just a little extra effort every day, you alone can make a difference. None of the above tips may seem like they would have a huge effect on the conservation plan, but if enforced and sustained, these changes, over time will definitely make a difference.

New technologies that use less water are becoming more important than ever, but our common sense and consciousness that our planet cannot supply water forever will ensure that future generations will enjoy the benefits of abundant fresh water because of the steps that we take now.

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