“When the well is dry, we will know the worth of water” – Benjamin Franklin.
If I told you that your restaurant could be wasting thousands of litres of water a year would you believe me? How about hundreds of thousands of litres going straight down the drain and you are being charged for every drop?
In a recent study carried out across a wide variety of establishments within the hospitality industry, it was revealed that over 50% of water usage is confined to the kitchen / dishwashing environment along with 30% water usage in the domestic and toilet facilities for these places.
Below are 4 easy ways you can check if you are wasting water and simple solutions to rectify it.
1. Eliminate Leaks:
Water outlets – Inspect every available water outlet inside and outside, even the smallest of leaks can have a big impact over time.
Taps – Check each tap even outside garden taps for leaks, according to Dublin City Council a tap leaking 1 drop every second can use 4500 litres of water per year. A leaking tap can generally be easily fixed by just replacing a washer.
Toilet Cisterns – Check the cisterns and ensure the water supply stops when its full and is not leaking out the overflow.
Pipe leaks – These can go unnoticed for long periods of time if the water is not visible. A quick way to check for pipe leaks is to monitor your water meter after hours when there should be no water usage. If the meter is recording, you may possibly have a leak.
These simple checks can be scheduled on a monthly basis to ensure minimal wastage if a leak should occur.
2. Tap Aerators or Flow Reducers
Tap aerators simply screw into the outlet of taps and reduce the flow of water while keeping the pressure the same. They are available to purchase from most DIY shops and generally cost anywhere between €5-10. Flow rates can drop from standard 8l/min to 5l/min.
3. Pre-Rinse Spray Nozzles
This is one of the most effective and least expensive water-saving upgrades. Kitchens pre-rinse dishes before putting them into heated soak tanks and dishwashers, and many older pre-rinse spray valves are considerably inefficient, using up to 18 litres per minute. High-performance low-flow nozzles can clean just as well with flow rates from as little as 2.5 litres per minute. This could mean saving 170,000 Litres of water over the course of a year with an average of 3 hours runtime per day. These pre-rinse sprayers also generally use hot water therefore water is conserved which inadvertently cuts energy usage. Finally, the valves are easy to install, the old one just needs to be unscrewed to allow for replacement with the new one.
4. Table Water
It is perhaps more effective and efficient to serve tap water at the request of the Customer only and not have it pre-poured. Not only will this stop the water reaching room temperature it will also eliminate the possibility of airborne dust/dirt fouling the water. If 5-10 litres or pre-poured water is thrown down the drain over the course of a day – this can add up to 3650litres of wasted water per year.
The introduction of a sustainability competition featuring awards and recognition if certain targets are met is a good way to address the importance of water conservation with your employees. Studies show that engagement and motivation can go a long way to raising employee awareness and participation.