SBS Tanks™ knows that in today’s world very few businesses can operate effectively without a reliable water supply. For this reason we have dedicated ourselves to providing an entire series of blog entries on the subject of emergency backup process water supply for business and industry.
Our first posting, “Insuring Reliable Backup Process Water Supply in the Food & Beverage and Industrial Sectors”, outlined the importance of having a backup water storage tank or reservoir and water supply system as well as a plan for how to use it effectively when a water supply outage occurs.
Today we will discuss the first step towards developing an effective backup water storage and delivery system and plan, performing a water usage assessment.
Planning an Emergency Backup Water Supply System
Step 1 – Perform a Water Usage Assessment
The first and most important step in planning an emergency water supply system is to assess the specific water supply requirements of your business. This assessment must be an in depth look at when, where, why and in what quantities your business uses water daily. It will help you to present the information needed by the water storage tank supplier, pump supplier and others who will assist you as you put this all together. The assessment should include, but is not limited to the identification and classification of the following:
- Key Equipment and Processes Water Usage – Places where water is used that are critical to your daily operations.
- Secondary Equipment and Processes Water Usage – Places where water is used that assist in your daily operations but that could be eliminated if absolutely necessary.
- Staff Water Usage – The drinking and sanitary requirements for your staff. (kitchens and ablution facilities)
- Non-Essential Water Usage – Places where water is used that are not critical to or assisting in your daily operations. The things you would eliminate first. (irrigation and car washing etc.)
To perform this assessment correctly you must:
- Look closely at every point in your business where water is used. Include machines, processes, staff welfare and sanitation, floor cleaning, fleet vehicle washing, grounds irrigation, etc.
- Classify each point of use according to its level of importance to the success of your business on a daily basis and be honest in your assessment.
- Make sure when assessing machines and processes that you note not only the amount of water used daily but also any other important details such as specific requirements for water pressure, water quality or water flow rates.
It is vitally important to account for all aspects of your daily operation and to classify all items properly. For instance, if a key machine is in an area where health and safety regulations require an emergency shower then not only is your machine classified as Key Equipment but so is the emergency shower because employees cannot work in that area without it.
Water Usage Assessment – Helpful Tips For Determining Your Required Daily Water Supply
To estimate staff water supply usage it is acceptable to take the maximum number of employees that will be on site over a 24 hour period and multiply this by 40 litres. This will give you a basic daily consumption estimate.
For your irrigation system, the company who installed or maintains it should be able supply you details of its daily requirements. Again make sure to note any pressure or flow rate specifications.
Non-essential water usage like washing fleet vehicles or cleaning and maintenance should be estimated as accurately as possible.
Water Usage Assessment – Perform a Water Audit to Insure Your Numbers are Correct
Now that you know how much water your business should be using on a daily basis it is a good idea to perform a water supply usage audit. In the audit you should meter as many of the water using areas on your list of key and secondary machines and processes as possible. This will insure that those machines and processes are operating to their correct specifications and that controls have not been tampered with. It will also help insure that you do not come up short when you decide the capacity of your water storage tank or reservoir.
Example: The manufacturer’s specification for the cooling system used for your primary production machinery states that the system requires 1 000 litres per hour of fresh water to be effective. You meter the incoming supply during your audit and find that the production staff have decided to override the control and the machine is now using 1 500 litres per hour. You can then investigate the reason for the excess usage and either reset the machine to its factory settings or make an allowance for additional water in your usage assessment.
When the audit has been completed and all of this information is organised properly in a spreadsheet you will have a powerful tool for establishing and tracking the daily water usage of your business. You can also compare these figures against your water account statements to look for anomalies or the potential of waste or abuse.
In Our Next Blog…
While you are waiting patiently for the next blog in this series, might we suggest that you take the opportunity to look closely at your Water Usage Assessment and identify if there are ways in which you could reduce the amount of water you consume daily without negatively affecting your operations. In other words, ways you could save water. Not only will saving water help conserve our limited water resources but it will cut your running costs and could very well reduce the end cost of your backup water supply tank and system as well.
Our next blog in the Emergency Backup Process Water Supply series will be posted soon and will discuss what is required to properly size the water pressure delivery system and pumps that your backup water supply system will require and what information you will need to provide to pump suppliers and plumbers, etc. in order to receive a fair and accurate quotation. After that we will look at the correct sizing and placement of your water storage supply tank or reservoir and finally how to put it all together.