Water conservation is critical to sustaining our natural water resources and environment. But water conservation is also critical to energy conservation. The energy costs of water are often forgotten since the treatment and transportation processes associated with water and wastewater, take place away from our homes, places of work and even towns or cities. Water treatment processes are energy intensive and therefore result in carbon emissions. Reducing water consumption can therefore help combat climate change.

Many industries are loosing energy through inefficient use of water and steam, with heat energy passing into the atmosphere through stacks or being pumped into rivers or the sea. This energy can be saved through conservation and simple measures to improve manufacturing processes. This will lead to more efficient systems, the consumption of less energy and therefore, less carbon emissions and cost savings.

Potential savings in water consumption in industry are difficult to estimate due to the variation of water consuming processes, but on average are approximately 40% and can even be as high as 90%. Water conservation can play a significant part in saving our natural resources and cutting our emissions, and at the same time, it makes good business sense.

What to do

The following will help your business to reduce its impact on climate change:

  • Reduce the amount of water used by your business and therefore the amount of wastewater leaving your business
  • Reduce the amount of energy expended on water processes
  • Reduce the amount of heat energy lost through water

How to do it

Below is a brief 5-point plan to help address water conservation in your installation. It is important to note that since water use is site specific, a comprehensive strategy would need to be tailor made for each installation.

1. Involve – The participation of everyone at your installation is key for water conservation to be successful.  This can be achieved through education and involving the entire workforce, using their ideas and maybe even rewarding the very effective ones.

2. Assess – Water use throughout the entire installation should be analysed and quantified, with details such as the capacity of water tanks, flow rates, frequency of emptying and potential leakage points. This should also include details of wastewater exiting the installation.

3. Plan – With knowledge of water use and waste water, specific methods for reusing and reducing water and energy can be drawn up in the form of a Water Management Plan.

4. Implement – Each industry will have its own specific uses of water and therefore their own methods to improve efficiency. This could involve, for example, collecting water after one process for use in another, recovering some of the heat energy in waste or reducing the amount of water used.

5. Record – Detailed water records should be kept of all water used on site and also where savings are made. This will allow the most effective methods of water and energy conservation to be identified and possibly applied to other areas.  

Water Conservation Tips for Industry

  • Handle waste materials in a dry mode if possible
  • Choose conveying systems that use water efficiently
  • Install high-pressure, low-volume nozzles on spray washers
  • Equip all hoses with spring loaded shutoff nozzles
  • Determine whether discharges from any one operation can be substituted for fresh water supplied to another operation

Ways to Increase Efficiency  


  • First rinses in wash cycles
  • Equipment cleaning, floor and gutter wash
  • Pasteuriser and steriliser water


  • Don’t hose down your floors – sweep and shovel instead
  • Provide enough receptacles to collect solids
  • Make an inventory of all cleaning equipment, such as hoses, in your plant – determine how often equipment is used and whether it is water-efficient
  • Wash your car, truck and bus fleets less often

Water and Energy Saving

Since using water consumes energy it is worth using the links and energy saving programmes mentioned in the energy section and applying these methods and measures to water and energy conservation.

Local Authority

Local authorities are ultimately responsible for the provision of potable water and maintenance of the supply network. With the support of the Department of the Environment & Local Government many local authorities have implemented their own water conservation programmes. For information on water conseravation or water metering contact your Local Authority.

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