Water auditing: A boon for mankind

Er. Rakesh Chandan

What is water audit
A Water Audit is a systematic approach of identifying, measuring, monitoring and reducing the water consumption by various activities in the industry. A water audit identifies the quantities, characteristics, and use of all the water delivered on the site and is the foundation of water resource management. Water audit is an effective management tool for reducing consumption, minimizing losses, optimizing various uses and enabling considerable conservation of water across various sector of water use. The purpose of a water audit is to estimate the average quantity of water used and lost everyday with the ultimate objective of using water wisely. An offshoot of this kind of audit can also be to educate the end users about achieving water efficiency in their homes, offices, manufacturing and other industrial and agricultural sectors for which water is the basic requirement for sustainability.
A comprehensive water audit gives a detailed profile of the distribution system and water uses. Water audits done on a regular basis would lead to better water management because only when something is measured, it can be managed. It also helps in understanding the present water efficiency and the solutions needed to enhance it.
Water audit studies have been developed by many developed and developing nations but it is a new concept in the Indian context. Some studies have been carried out by the government and private agencies but they are few and far between and yet to acquire the seriousness needed in a water scarce country like India.
Data Needs
Primary Data- through a well structured data sheet and onsite observation of usage patterns. The meter reading (wherever available) would be spread over several days and at different times of the day. The results would then be correlated with the data obtained from the utility for the same billing cycle. In absence of metered supply data, consumption of water would be estimated from the time of pumping of tube well and discharge capacity of pump installed.
Secondary Data- through the data available with the utility and the consuming organization.
The data collection consists of making an inventory of information pertaining to where and how much water is being used throughout the location, information obtained from meters and sub meters, the average consumption of water for each water dispensing unit so that an estimate can be made for the average quantity of water consumed per day. Information is also required regarding the ‘leakages’. The detailed evaluation reveals the measures to be adopted for better water management and water conservation.
Virtual water
The world’s water supply is finite, while its population is ever-growing. Finding better ways to protect and manage this limited resource is a constant challenge. On the consumer level, there has been an increased awareness of ways to reduce water use at home – turning off the faucet while brushing teeth, installing water-saving fixtures and watering the lawn less often, for instance. But direct water use accounts for only a small part of the water consumed. A far greater amount is consumed in the production of food and other products. Agriculture, in fact, accounts for as much as 85 percent of worldwide water use.
To create sustainable solutions to the growing global scarcity of fresh water, the bigger picture must be considered: indirect water use, also known as “virtual water”.
Virtual water can be defined as the water that is required for manufacturing a product or for rendering a service. Virtual water also contains the actual amount of water that exists in a certain product, particularly since this water was also necessary for the production of this good. To mitigate these demands of virtual water we should switch over to rain water harvesting by means of constructing check dam, rain water harvesting plants at micro level and construction of dams and interlinking of rivers in a sustainable manners without disturbing ecology and biodiversity of that area at macro level. The important of above structure is much more in Indian context because we are almost fully dependent on monsoon season for agriculture and others sectors which is of almost three an half month duration and if unfortunately monsoon is weak it further severe the situation and hence its our owns to save rain water. As our agriculture sector depend on monsoon vis-à-vis economy of India also affected because India behave with monsoon and famous quote “Indian Economy is a gamble on the Monsoon”.
Water footprint
In line with the concept of virtual water, the concept of the water footprint has been introduced to create a consumption-based indicator of water use. The water footprint is defined as the volume of water needed for the production of the goods and services consumed by the inhabitants of a country.
The water footprint can be divided into an internal and external water footprint. The internal component covers the use of domestic water resources and the external component covers the use of water resources elsewhere.
Finally, the water footprint can be divided into a blue, a green and a gray water footprint. The blue component covers the use of ground water and surface water during the production of commodity, the green component covers the use of rain water for crop growth, and the gray component covers the water required to dilute the water that is polluted during the production of the commodity.
As water increasingly becomes a scarce resource, consumers and individuals are turning toward looking at the ‘water footprint’ in order to live in a more responsible way.
Personal water footprint generally includes three categories of information:
1. Food. This includes the water cost of growing, processing, transporting, and preparing various foods.
2. Other household water uses. This includes sanitation, bathing, laundry, dishwashing, as well as yard irrigation and maintenance.
3. Water costs of manufactured goods. This is the most difficult to quantify because the large number of uncertainties in the production, transportation and marketing cycles of goods.
Why reduce foot print ?
Lack of water impacts the ability to grow economically and sustain population growth. We can’t make or produce new water, so it is necessary to conserve and manage water. Treat it as a valuable resource.
Why reduce water foot print
There are places on earth where human demand for water is greater than the amount of clean water that is available. As human populations grow, water scarcity and water pollution will continue to become more common. Our consumer choices in India do affect others around the world, and we can become better global citizens by reducing our personal water footprints and to further strengthen water footprint a welcome step taken by District Administration Reasi under the overall supervision of DM Madam Indu Kanwal Chib where a small pit dig to percolate water, with a slogan “1adult 1 Percolation pit can make all the difference in the monsoon season” but I requested Govt. of J&K to move a step a head to mitigate water scarcity by means of issue strict guidelines to set up rain water harvesting plant at all the existing Govt. officials buildings at District HQ and its my personal experience results are beyond expectations as it recharge the ground water level in a wonderful manners and accordingly pvt. Building owners also switch over to above units and the outcome of rain water harvesting plants to the individual life is that water bill / tax is almost zero after the installation of units because we are blessed the ample amount of rainfall i.e. 700-750 mm per annum in J&K and it also mitigate summer scarcity of water and the second one is a sense of onus to participate for the development of nation by saving rain water and fulfill the slogan of our Govt. “Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas”.
Reducing water footprint
* Fix leaks – Small drips add up to a lot of water.
* Use of water-efficient washing machine and run it full – You’ll also save energy, use less detergent, and reduce fabric wear.
* Replace toilets with low-flow models – We use tremendous volumes of treated drinking water-and copious amounts of energy-to flush e.g. the bio-blocks the latest in the water saving technology, and help in saving an average 1.00 lakhs liters of water per annum per Urinal. The bio-blocks contain natural beneficial microbes that keep the urinal clean, hygienic and odorless without the use of water. This is significant saving in water consumption (one can easily see these bio-block urinal in pvt. malls and hotels in J&K too)
* Use a water-efficient dishwasher rather than hand washing, and run it full.
* Slow the flow at home by installing low flow devices where possible.
* Reduce, Reuse and Recycle more, and choose gas-free transportation more often.
(The author is a Assistant Engineer
PHE Division Udhampur)