Water Management: Coping With a Scarce Resource
We live a time that highlights the importance of saving water in light of its scarcity. Water resources in both Israel and the world are dwindling, with pumping rates of subterranean water reserves exceeding their refilling rate from precipitation of rain.
Moreover, unfortunate water pollution incidents in various parts of the world have aggravated the situation and effectively reduced available water resources .
Given that water is an environmental, economic and social resource, it raises the moral question of who is entitled to use it: anyone who can pump water, ship it around the world and profit from it, or, perhaps those communities that live near its origins?
Since its inception, the State of Israel has been contending with limited water resources.
When discussing environmental management, the highest ranking practice in the hierarchy is prevention at the source. Consequently, effective water-saving is the most important item on the agenda.
As part of Strauss Group’s commitment to improve people’s quality of life, we have identified an opportunity in water treatment and, at the same time, are adopting responsible industrial activities for efficient and economical use of water.
One channel is Strauss water’s activity. The company has developed a sophisticated water filter and 10 registered patents that can be used in an in-home device, which facilitates purification of contaminated water, bringing them to the permitted level of drinking water. This device is designed to be sold in places where water supply is irregular, and available water is unsuitable for immediate drinking.
The second channel is water management at Strauss Israel, the company where I work as an Environmental Quality Manager, and here I will elaborate.
At Strauss Israel we defined water-saving as an important element in the organization’s environmental policy, setting a multiple-year water saving goal of 22% of water consumption per ton of product, by 2015.
We compiled a “Water Management Guide” in the Group, relying on external information sources, and on the experiences gained by our people in the various production sites. We are currently starting to implement this guide in some of our plants.
The Guide is comprised of “Four Steps”:
The first step: Establishment of Infrastructure. This step guides every Strauss Group plant to appoint a Water Consumption Administrator, keeping orderly documentation of the water network, location of water meters, water allocations for industry and how to calculate the true cost of water.
The second step: Control and Measurement. This step guides us to monitor information obtained from the infrastructure set under “the first step”, identifying deviations, reviewing their details, and adopting measures to prevent their recurrence. This step encourages employee participation in locating and treating the causes of deviation.
The third step: Prevention of Water Wasting. This step guides us to identify sporadic and chronic leaks, and how to treat them accordingly. This includes the compilation of a preventive maintenance plan for the water network.
The fourth step: Targeted Improvement in “Consumers”. The term “consumers” refers to devices in the production system that utilize water. This part of the Guide is based on a project carried out in the salty snacks plant of Strauss Group. By launching this project, the plant saved in one year approximately 38% of water consumption per ton of product.
The project phases are documented in the Guide:
• Identify major water consumers.
• Measure water consumption of these consumers.
• Examine the design data of these consumers, and check the water consumption difference between the design data and actual water consumption.
• Examining the annual savings potential.
Formulate the treatment of every consumer.
• Build and budget a work plan.
Proper use of natural resources in general and of water as a dwindling resource in particular, is essential and of paramount importance. Fortunately, The Guide we have compiled at Strauss and which I presented to you in this post, outlines a path that has already started to prove itself, and it includes additional measures to be taken in order to save as much water as possible. This is a long process that requires revision and strict implementation, and I hope that we will meet the challenging goals that we have set for ourselves, for the preservation of the environment and for the sake of all of us.
First Published on Struss Blog: Food For Thought