You may not know it, but Arizona has been a leader in managing water for decades. From innovative ways to store water to treating wastewater to conservation efforts, our desert state is a role model on how to best preserve this limited natural resource. While there are many good water stewards out there, there is plenty of opportunity for business owners (and citizens) to reduce their water usage. Since water prices in the United States rise 5 – 15 percent on average every year, if you are not paying attention to your water bill, you are likely missing ways to save money.
Fortunately for Arizonans, groups like Water – Use It Wisely (WUIW) provide helpful tips and resources on how to improve water efficiency in the home and office. Two members of the team, Melissa Bomar with City of Tempe and Jennifer Davidson with City of Scottsdale, recently hosted a webinar for Local First members to help businesses learn how to save water and dollars.
Tips for Your Business to Save Water
Here some tips they shared to help your business become more water savvy:
- Water use varies between industries but highest use is most often in restrooms, cooling, landscaping, laundry and kitchen.
- Pay attention to your water bill. You can get a baseline of your water use, based on your month-to-month and year-to-year usage. What gets measured, gets managed.
- Contact your local water utility to inquire about getting a water audit. Audits generally focus on leak detection, domestic indoor water use, non-domestic indoor water use, irrigation and landscaping. There may be rebates available to help mitigate the costs to improve water conservation.
- Leaks in faucets, toilets, pipes, kitchen equipment, HVAC and evaporative coolers can quickly add up to many dollars worth of water waste. Many times leaks can be fixed with a small piece replacement or tightening a valve. Leaks can be detected by monitoring your water bill for spikes, visual inspection of appliances or using leak detection tablets in toilets.
- Encourage your staff to implement water conservation in their daily tasks. Examples include running washing machines when full, alerting managers when leaks are detected, and serving water to restaurant customers only when requested.
- Install low-flow aerators on kitchen and restroom faucets. Upgrading to .5 gpm (gallons per minute) in your sinks can save you $140 per faucet per year. Moreover, most of these are only $10 and sometimes are free from your water utility! Plus, they’re easy enough to install yourself.
- Purchase WaterSense labeled products when upgrading appliances. There are many different price variations, find the one that matches your budget and save over time.
- Put misters, fountains and irrigation on timers so water use is regulated and not left on when not needed.
- Check WUIW website for classes, tips and blogs and subscribe to their newsletter for monthly reminders.
- There are some very helpful guides that are available through the WUIW team. They include “Find and Fix Leaks That Are Draining Your Budget,” “WaterSense at Work,” and the “Commercial Kitchens Water Use Efficiency and Best Practices Guide.” Email Jennifer Davidson at jdavidson@ScottsdaleAZ.gov to receive free copies of these guides.
By incorporating these simple tips and habits you can have a positive impact on your water bill and be a part of resource conservation. Don’t forget to share these initiatives on your social media and in-store, so that customers know the good that your company is doing and fellow business owners are inspired to do follow your lead. If you are interested in watching the webinar in its entirety and getting more tips, check it out on YouTube.
This article originally appeared on November 14, 2017 and is being reprinted with permission. From time to time, Water – Use It Wisely features guest bloggers who write about topics related to water and water conservation. The author if this blog, Olga Borquez, is a business sustainability intern at Local First Arizona.