Monitor your water use

Finalise the detail of your water balance

Your initial water balance may have identified less than 80 per cent of your water use. Depending on how much water you use, it could be cost-effective to increase this to 95 per cent. You can do this by:

  • working out which activities and processes use the most water
  • measuring flows to obtain more detail
  • continuing to review and measure until it is no longer cost-effective to do so

Identify water supplies

Find out where your water comes from and how it is treated and distributed on-site including:

  • how it's supplied, eg mains, river water, reservoir or borehole
  • how it's stored, eg in tanks or lagoons, and the capacity
  • whether water is treated on-site and how
  • how water is transferred, eg by pump, gravity or manually

Investigate water use

Use one or more of the following to look into water use:

  • walking around the site to find where water is used
  • looking at location and numbers of water meters
  • talking to staff about where water is used
  • tracing water-supply pipes from sources to use point, if possible
  • finding drawings of the water supply system

You also need to gather information such as:

  • number of employees on-site or per shift
  • type of product being produced
  • number of lines operating
  • processes such as rinses and washing cycles

Making a plan as you go along can help you to keep track of where you are, particularly if there is no diagram of the water supply and distribution system.

Identify effluent sources

To identify sources and effluent (liquid waste) disposal methods, you should:

  • look at plans of your effluent drainage, surface water drainage and foul sewer systems - if these don't exist, make your own diagrams
  • mark the location of any effluent meters or sampling points
  • walk around the site looking for sources of effluent and wastewater
  • talk to staff to get their input
  • include any liquid wastes and slurries taken off site by tankers

Other water losses

Look at other ways in which water leaves your site:

  • in your products - eg in drinks manufacture
  • in steam, during product manufacturing or processing - such as laundries or some food processing

You will need this information to complete your water balance.