Pressure rising for water savings

THE days of unlimited supplies of water for industry are clearly over, and industry must be prepared as mandatory water saving requirements emerge in some areas.

THE days of unlimited supplies of water for industry are clearly over, and industry must be prepared as mandatory water saving requirements emerge in some areas.

In South East Queensland, for example, level 5 water restrictions have been introduced, and business, industry and non-residential users must achieve long-term savings. For large users, strict guidelines and compliance measures apply.

Businesses using more than 10 million litres a year must prepare, submit and comply with a Water Efficiency Management Plan (WEMP), and no business in this category can use town water unless it has a WEMP in place or has been granted approval from its service provider (local council). Businesses consuming more than 1 million litres must install water efficient appliances, and premises’ urinals must be water efficient by 30 September 2007.

Around Australia, major cities are encouraging greater action from industry to conserve water resources, with a particular focus on their top 200 water users.

In most cases assistance is provided by the water utilities to establish demand management programs, including the conduct of water consumption audits.

According to Andy Krumins at Brisbane Water, a formal program has been implemented for large water users that includes an emphasis on greater use of recycled water in industry.

Melbourne water retailers offer a one-on-one water efficiency service, and Sydney Water assists large users through its Every Drop Counts (EDC) program, including assistance with the preparation of Water Savings Action Plans (WSAP).

Enterprises in Sydney using 50 million litres or more per annum are required to provide a WSAP to the NSW Department of Water and Energy.

In WA, John Brennan at the Water Corporation says industry in Perth uses about 20% of total water supplied by the Corporation.

“We work with the top 200 water users on an individual basis, and the computerised ‘Water Achiever’ program is made available to all medium customers.

“Each medium customer is able to enter specific information into the program and the model recommends actions that will improve efficiency,” Brennan said.

An additional way that organisations can take action to save water is through implementing an Environmental Management System (EMS) based on the internationally recognised ISO 14001 Standard.

Information about this approach can be obtained by contacting a JAS-ANZ accredited certification body listed at www.jas-anz.com.au/register. JAS-ANZ is a not for profit self funding international organisation established under an agreement between the governments of Australia and NZ.

Demonstration project

Following receipt of a $50,000 federal government community water grant, which the company matched, Davey Water Products has installed a rainwater capture system as a demonstration project at its pumps production plant in the Melbourne suburb of Scoresby.Water run-off from the plant’s 2,500m2 roof area is collected by a syphonic drainage system and stored in three 45,000 litre above ground rainwater tanks for delivery to the paint line using a new Davey HM series multi-stage electric pump set. After simple filtration, the rain water is also used in the factory and adjoining office area for non-mains water needs such as toilet flushing.

Davey Rainbank automatic controllers at each use point will automatically switch the supply back to mains water should there be insufficient rain water in storage.

According to the company’s product specialist, Max Ekins, the rain water harvesting system, which could be duplicated by other industrial water users, will save an estimated three million litres of mains water per year, as well as demonstrating a number of innovative Davey products in an industrial environment.

“This system is expected to achieve close to a 100% saving of mains water in the largest factory water consumption process,” Ekins said.

“The installation has attracted significant interest from property and building developers as well as industrial water users. With the declining reserves of mains water, we believe increased use will be made by industry of their building roofs as a rain water catchment.”

Big savings at steelworks

BlueScope Steel’s Port Kembla steelworks is the largest consumer of fresh water in the Illawarra region of NSW, with around 37 million litres used throughout the plant every day along with 815 million litres of saltwater.Most of the site’s manufacturing operations involve intense heat, and water is critical to the cooling of plant and equipment, and the products and by-products of the steel-making process.

Over the past 14 years, BlueScope Steel has implemented major programs to significantly increase the amount of recycled water used, both from outside sources and by re-using water from the processes used to make iron and steel.

According to a spokesman, priority has also been to reduce the amount of water required in the production process.

“Through these endeavours, the steelworks has increased its water use efficiency from around five kilolitres of water used per tonne of steel produced in 1992, to 2.5 kilolitres of water per tonne currently.

“These initiatives have greatly reduced the amount of fresh water and seawater used in the plant, as well as reducing discharges of water from the plant into Port Kembla harbour,” he said.

Last September, NSW Premier Morris Iemma activated Sydney Water’s Wollongong sewage treatment plant which will provide up to 20 million litres of reverse osmosis recycled water a day to the Port Kembla Steelworks, replacing the same amount of fresh water previously drawn from the Avon Dam.

Whereas the targeted 20 megalitres a day is yet to be reached, the company is regularly receiving and using up to 15-16 megalitres of treated recycled water a day from the plant.