One of the biggest things consumers need to understand about saving water is that their reduction in water usage actually has “downstream” benefits at water treatment plants that serve their community. In fact, treatment plants are the site of perhaps the most energy usage and the most water waste. Their operations can directly impact the environment in a number of key ways.
Moving Toward Conservation: Developments Helping to Turn the Tide
The good news for homeowners and treatment plants alike is that new developments are taking hold that allow these plants to be more efficient in how the treat water and return it to useful functions. Plants have begun implementing water recycling procedures that actually allow them to use less of the treated water that they have a hand in producing.
Many other plants are using green energy technologies to power treatment machinery and reduce their carbon footprint, eliminating a major source of energy usage that can cost consumers money on their utility bills and indirectly harm the environment when nearby utility customers use a bit too much water.
An Industry Movement in England and Abroad
From England to the United States and beyond, treatment plant operators are working to become a key part of the energy efficiency equation. That means more recycling, more green energy, and more efficient processes that do less harm to the environment during all parts of water delivery, recycling, treatment, and release back out into the wild.
It’s easy for homeowners in England to take water for granted, since the climate is generally so moist and rain isn’t very hard to come by. That isn’t the case across the pond, however, where many Texas communities in the United States struggle with ongoing droughts and a great deal of uncertainty when it comes to the long-term sustainable nature of communities built essentially in a desert. For at least one company, though, that uncertainty seems to have been taken to heart.
A Small Bank with a Big Conservation Idea
One of Texas’ smaller, more local banks recently expanded into the one of the state’s driest cities. Amarillo is never quite sure where its drinking water might come from in a major drought, and so the bank decided to actually “catch” any rain water that did arrive and use for recycled purposes in their own facility and in the community at large.
The company surrounded its new bank location with permeable paving materials that sit over top of Amarillo’s’ typically dry ground. When rain falls on the pavement, it actually falls “through” the permeable surface and back into the ground. The bank, however, actually catches that rainwater and uses it for recycled purposes in the branch and sends some of it to local treatment plants.
A Special Way to Live in the Desert
It’s not optional for many places to conserve water. Instead, many places would not be able to exist if they didn’t have smart policies in place for conserving, catching, and treating any water they could get their hands on. That’s best exemplified by this small Texas bank, which is taking a big step toward greener operations.
Around the world, the leaders of major corporations are beginning to understand just how serious it is to conserve water and promote a sustainable future. Indeed, the CEO of Nestle is quoted as saying he believes the world will run out of suitable drinking water long before it runs out of fuel or other products based on petroleum. That’s a pretty bold statement, but it’s not off the map when it comes to real concerns expressed by industry professionals here in England and conservation agencies here and abroad.
The Rising Prominence of the Water Footprint
Companies around the world are starting to focus increasingly on their “water footprint,” essentially the H2O equivalent of carbon footprint monitoring that has led to reduced oil usage, more efficient energy technologies, and a whole host of improvements in corporate offices and home living areas alike.
The water footprint is generally assessed by an outside agency, which takes into account things like the company’s toilets, sinks, and appliances. They examine every aspect of the company’s operations to determine where water usage is excessive, where conservation is working, and how improvements can be made in both areas.
With the analysis complete, major companies enact new policies like installing flushless toilets, or upgrading to automatic sinks, that reduce water in a significant way. It’s easily one of the most innovative ways to be a better corporate citizen.
A Movement is Beginning to Take Shape
With more and more companies working to seriously reduce their water footprint by consulting outside agencies and help, the move is on to ensure that businesses can be sustainable for the long-term while functioning as smart and helpful members of the global ecosystem.
The University of Connecticut is one of the largest public institutions of higher education in the United States, with a vast student body spread among multiple campuses across the state. At the university’s Storrs campus, though, a major shift is about to take place that will affect students and their professors alike: The university is about to open its multi-million dollar water reclamation facility with the hope of making its Storrs campus the most water-efficient in the country.
Feeding the Power Plant and Recycling Water at the Same Time
The water reclamation plant will serve two essential functions for the university community. First and foremost, it will recycle and treat water, as well as use water in some applications that is saved from local runoff. Above and beyond that, though, the plant is designed to make a real difference in both the water and carbon footprints of the university’s campus.
Reclaimed water will be used to fuel the University of Connecticut’s on-site power plant, which already operates on water. This will lead to a significant reduction in the amount of water used by the campus, all while feeding into a highly efficient and “green” energy system that has been praised by industry experts.
A Major Shift for a Big Student Body
Connecticut’s university system ahs always been cutting-edge, but its new water reclamation effort just might be the most exciting new way to boost efficiency, reduce costs, and save a significant amount of water. That’s good news for the state, the students, and the university’s faculty.