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Saving from Vigilance on Water Conservation
April 7, 2014 - Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »
Vigilance is the best defense against wasted water in restroom plumbing systems. The sooner technicians can identify the source, the quicker they can prevent water waste. Regular, preventive inspections are the surest way to spot and correct problems.
The first and least costly method to eliminate waste is to look for leaks and high flow rates and, where detected, to replace leaking fixtures, faucet aerators, shower heads, and toilet valves with the newer products that use less water. Replacing high-flow restrictors with low-flow restrictors can reduce water consumption at each faucet by 50 percent.
Another waste reducer is submetering, which measures the flows in various areas and can help managers determine which buildings or systems are the biggest users and wasters. One quick way to determine the presence of leaks is to read the meter at two-hour intervals when no water is being used. The difference between the two is water wasted from leaks. With this comparison, managers can focus conservation efforts and resources on projects and produce the largest paybacks.
Submetering savings can result from previously unidentified leaks that reveal themselves in an unusually high flow volume in a metered area. Once technicians measure baseline flow, they can take periodic readings and compare them to the baseline.
Technicians also can compare similar areas between buildings. If two areas in different buildings have about the same number of fixtures and usage, their flow rates should be similar.
Some buildings also collect, treat and recycle sink water as grey water for use in toilets. This strategy can substantially reduce potable water use and flow into the sewer. The sewer flow is charged automatically based on the water supplied.