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Water Matters: Securing Your Source

In the first of a four-part webinar series about industrial water management, our experts discussed water supply risks and mitigation tactics.

Webinar Recap: Water Matters 1

    Because water plays a key role in nearly all in­dus­trial op­er­a­tions, in­dus­trial leaders have an in­cen­tive to manage it ef­fi­ciently. In this four-part webinar series, we discuss how to source water, use it ef­fec­tively, treat it to meet re­quire­ments and avoid sur­charges and adopt an in­te­grated water man­age­ment mindset within a facility. In case you missed Part 1, "Securing Your Source," let us recap it for you!
    In this webinar, our pan­elists—Rick Mo­lon­goski, Paul Sin­is­galli and John Boyer—touched on the key chal­lenges sur­round­ing water sourcing and explored multiple supply al­ter­na­tives. They dis­cussed tools that can help plant op­er­a­tors assess their source water vul­ner­a­bil­ity and in­no­v­a­tive measures that can be taken to mitigate risks. Plant managers were then left with a charge to engage their teams in water control ini­tia­tives.

    Starting at the Source
    Various drivers, such as climate change, water scarcity, tight­en­ing reg­u­la­tions, cor­po­rate sus­tain­abil­ity goals and consumer demands are causing plant managers to approach water sourcing more care­fully to ensure that pro­duc­tion dis­rup­tions are limited. First, you should un­der­stand the types of source water avail­able to you.
    There are two major water source cat­e­gories: pur­chased and self supply. Typ­i­cally, plants use a com­bi­na­tion of pur­chased water from a local utility and self-supplied water from an onsite well, onsite surface supply, re­claimed rainfall runoff or treated waste­water effluent. A lot of plants are opting to treat their own waste­water, offering them the most supply control.
    In order to define the option that works best for you, you will have to gain an un­der­stand­ing of your own water needs, consider the risks and build a mit­i­ga­tion plan. To help us get started, John walked us through the first risk category of a source water vul­ner­a­bil­ity as­sess­ment:
    Water Matters 1: As­sess­ing Supply Vul­ner­a­bil­ity
    The risk cat­e­gories of a source water vul­ner­a­bil­ity as­sess­ment help you answer targeted ques­tions aimed at supply re­li­a­bil­ity, wa­ter­shed sus­tain­abil­ity, ef­fi­ciency, com­pli­ance, supply eco­nom­ics and local/social factors. Once you answer these risk-related ques­tions, you can identify and pri­or­i­tize mit­i­ga­tion actions.
    When it comes to per­form­ing a vul­ner­a­bil­ity as­sess­ment, you have two choices: utilize staff, assuming they have the required time and ex­per­tise, or hire a third-party con­sul­tant. Either way, you will not be on your own—there are several public domain water re­sources to assist you. For starters, Paul high­lighted four of them:
    Water Matters 1: Tools for As­sess­ment and Mit­i­ga­tion
    Engaging the com­mu­nity can also go a long way in ensuring a long-term supply. Consider getting a seat for your company at local policy round­ta­bles or task forces—make sure that your company's needs are well rep­re­sented.

    Plan your approach
    Plant managers today are em­brac­ing in­no­v­a­tive so­lu­tions when it comes to sourcing their water. First, you must un­der­stand your quality needs. Rick had more to say on this topic:
    Water Matters 1: In­no­v­a­tive Sourcing Ap­proaches
    Once you un­der­stand your needs, make sure you have a firm grasp on your plant's water use. Having this knowl­edge will be helpful when ne­go­ti­at­ing rates with local mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties and util­i­ties. If you can secure a long-term contract, you will buffer your or­ga­ni­za­tion against drought-related rate in­creases. To further protect your plant, consider a sec­ondary supply to keep things running smoothly during adverse cir­cum­stances.
    Ul­ti­mately, the key in sourcing water is to make the most out of every gallon in your facility. The best way to do that is through a cleaner pro­duc­tion as­sess­ment. This will help your plant plan, assess, analyze, im­ple­ment and monitor your water use to keep you in line with company goals. In order to achieve success, as Paul explains, your whole team must be board:
    Water Matters 1: Com­mit­ment to Clean Pro­duc­tion
    To achieve the best results, however, you are going to have to find ways to reduce your demand. Some­times, a little bit of healthy com­pe­ti­tion can ac­com­plish this—by bench­mark­ing one plant's water re­duc­tion efforts against another. Plants should keep daily records of their im­prove­ments to en­cour­age positive change. In one case, as Paul ex­plained, a brewery that CDM Smith worked with was able to reduce the amount of water needed to make a liter of beer by 50 percent. John and Rick drove home the im­por­tance of en­cour­ag­ing con­ser­va­tion through regular in­cen­tives:
    Water Matters 1: Best Man­age­ment Prac­tices
    Setting up best man­age­ment prac­tices, per­form­ing a water loss analysis and con­sis­tently re­ward­ing staff achieve­ments will ensure long-term, ef­fi­cient water use.

    The future of water supply
    As water scarcity becomes more preva­lent, public and reg­u­la­tory demands will lead plants to im­ple­ment strate­gic reuse options and learn to be self suf­fi­cient. John and Paul helped reveal what's on the supply horizon:
    Water Matters 1: Future of Supply
    Now more than ever, plant managers need to secure sus­tain­able water sources, thinking towards the future. To better un­der­stand the risks sur­round­ing water sourcing today and how to mitigate them, consider reading 6 Water Supply Threats Industry Should Assess.

    So there you have it! Keep in mind that securing a source is just the first step in an in­te­grated water man­age­ment program—hence the four-part series. We hope that you join us as we continue to explore deeper into un­der­stand­ing water use and reuse in our next webinar, update: webinar linked) Water Matters 2: Un­der­stand. Evaluate. Reuse? As always, feel free to contact our pan­elists with any unan­swered ques­tions:
    Paul Sin­is­galli - Sin­is­gal­liPD@cdmsmith.com

    Follow us on Twitter @CDM­Smith_IND

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