Water, the next opportunity for Cost Cutting and efficiency improvement
Even as the sustainability movement gains momentum in India and corporates start re orienting their policies and processes to incorporate the sustainability agenda, one scarce resource viz. water seems to gather less than optimal response.
India has more than 17 percent of the world‟s population, but has only 4% of world‟s renewable water resources with 2.6% of world‟s land area. Industry is now focusing more on energy efficiency opportunities since the returns through optimization has the potential to impact balance sheets and ‘green’ operations.
It would pay well to focus on water use, understand water consumption patterns, and proactively study its wastage and leakage in operations. Maintenance managers might have thought the options for water efficiency were either to go completely zero-water-consumption (in the case of urinals, for example) or implement operational strategies to reduce consumption (in the case of chillers).
A recent assignment undertaken for a ship building major has helped it to reduce its water costs by over 40%, through understanding its consumption patterns,leakage, wastage, foot prints and water balance.
With the Ministry of Water Resources gearing up to set up a bureau for water-use efficiency aka the BEE to encourage conservation of this increasingly scarce resource, it is critical for organisations to look beyond the one- off efforts made through either deploying rainwater harvesting structures, or water recycling units to a more integrated approach.
ISO standards exist for water foot printing viz. ISO14046, thus enabling an organisation to pinpoint areas of impact and design strategies that put it on a path of efficient water use and water positivity, thus positively impacting various stakeholders in the water cycle / product life cycle.
The writer is Vice President – Sustainability, RSM – GC Advisory Services Pvt. Ltd.