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Maximising water efficiencies

02 June 2010

Water management is a high priority for all UK operators and by failing to maximise water efficiency, businesses are collectively missing out on savings of as much as £10 million per day, says RM Water Services

For the food industry especially this is a huge issue, as collectively an estimated 300 million m3 of water is used every year.

Tackling water and waste water management does not have to be expensive or difficult, there are many simple solutions and capital expenditure should only be considered when opportunities are clear. Did you know for example a tap dripping two drops a second across a year could waste nearly 10,000 litres of water?

As well as implementing small scale measures there are companies with specialist knowledge and expertise that can help manage your water and waste water usage to increase efficiency and in turn reduce costs.

As one of the highest industry users of water in manufacturing and processing there is a large risk of water wastage as a result of both the inefficient use and management of water and waste water. Not only could manufacturers lose money through wasting water, there is also a risk of being overcharged.

There are 26 different Water Companies operating throughout the UK, all of which have different charging schemes which on average are over 70 pages long. It is therefore very difficult to keep abreast of these charges. This problem is compounded for companies that have multi-site operations. Without specialist knowledge attempting to keep abreast of the different charges from a number of different water companies is very difficult, for example not all the Water Companies charge for surface water drainage, whilst others have higher standing charges and banded tariffs for water consumption.

Operating within a competitive market and as retailers place an ever increasing emphasis on the environmental credentials of their products it is crucial that suppliers focus on improving the efficiency of their water and waste water usage in order to stay competitive.

By really focusing on water and waste water a fish processor based in the North East instructed one specialist consultancy RM Water Services who, after detailed analysis of both their water and waste water usage, identified an opportunity to reduce the strength of their trade effluent, in turn significantly reducing costs and also increasing efficiency.

Washing down and cleaning machinery and plant forms a significant element of a manufacturer’s water and waste water usage. This is an area that is often overlooked when attempting to cut costs, however there are many opportunities to implement water recycling systems and processes to increase efficiency and reduce costs.

Consultants at RM Water Services have worked with an abattoir in order to reduce costs and increase efficiency by reducing the amount of water used to wash carcasses without adversely affecting the quality of the product.

Another benefit of becoming more water efficient is the environmental factor. By reducing water consumption you can also reduce the carbon footprint of your business. For example, for every cubic metre of water saved, you will save approximately 1 kg of CO2 equivalent.

Despite high rainfall, the UK has a large population and limited capacities for water storage. This means that water is becoming an ever scarcer and expensive resource, and the food industry must make increasing efficiencies a priority.

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