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New International Standard for water efficiency

While some parts of the world are ‘flush’ with freshwater, others face serious drought. What’s more, only a fraction of the world’s freshwater is available for us to use and drink, as the rest is in the sea or frozen in glaciers or snowfields.

As the world’s population continues to put pressure on this limited supply, being more efficient with what we have is our only solution. A new International Standard has just been published to help.

Water is becoming a scarce commodity in many parts of the world. The reasons are diverse, with climate change a key driver. Other major factors include human consumption and the growth of water-intensive methods in manufacturing and farming. According to the United Nations, over the last hundred years, the use of water worldwide has increased by twice as much as the global population, meaning that seven hundred million people could be displaced due to a lack of water by 20302).

Because we can’t produce more, the only solution is to be more efficient with what we’ve got.  The recently published ISO 46001Water efficiency management systems – Requirements with guidance for use, aims to help organizations of all sizes and status be more water-efficient.

Through a clear framework and guidance on water efficiency management, ISO 46001 provides methods and tools for assessing and accounting for water usage, as well as ways to identify and implement measures to optimize water use. In this way, users of the standard will contribute directly to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), which seeks to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”.

It specifically addresses Target 6.4 – “By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity”.

ISO 46001 was inspired by work done to develop a national standard in Singapore, one of the first of its kind in the world to help organizations benefit from the use of a water efficiency management system.  Ms Wai Cheng Wong, Chief Engineer in the Water Supply Network department of PUB, Singapore’s national water agency, is Convenor of the ISO working group that developed ISO 46001 and also worked on Singapore standard SS 577.  She comments: “As one of the most water-stressed countries in the world, managing industrial water use has been a priority for Singapore, given that the bulk of our water demand comes from the non-domestic sector, which is expected to increase further. Therefore, we strongly believe that ISO 46001 will be an important tool for all organizations around the world to bring about greater water efficiency and savings in their operations.”

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Verde Environmental Consultants can work with you to reduce costs and dependency on mains water supply.

The development of sustainable groundwater resources is a key element in helping our clients to reduce costs associated with the use of water.  Verde has built a team of water specialists who are focused on delivering a quality one-stop-shop hydrogeological service from assessment, to commissioning and verification to our clients varying from domestic to industrial.

Verde offer a nationwide groundwater development service, providing you with independent and impartial expertise to ensure that the most appropriate and cost-effective hydrogeological approach is taken to match  your specific requirements. Our tailored advice, provided by an experienced and dedicated team of environmental experts, is commercially focused, clearly communicated, delivered on time and backed with appropriate levels of professional indemnity cover.

Find out more here.