Water audit is the measure of impact the organization has on water resources. Water audit does this by determining organizations’ water consumption and the amount of water lost from a distribution system due to leakage and other reasons such as pumping inefficiency, unauthorized or illegal withdrawals from the systems and the cost of such losses to the organization. Comprehensive water audit creates a detailed profile of the water distribution system, maps water intensive units, thereby facilitating effective management of water resources with improved reliability. It helps in diagnosing of the problems faced to recommend appropriate solutions. It is also an effective tool for realistic understanding and assessment of the present performance level and efficiency of the water management service and the adaptability of such a system for future expansion.
Available standards and guidelines
Water audit is not a new concept, but since water is always seen as a ‘free’ commodity, no guidelines or BIS Code for water audit is available in the country. Keeping this in view, Central Water Commission has taken a lead role to bring out “General Guidelines for Water Audit”. The “General Guidelines for Water Audit” have been prepared as conceptual guidelines to cover the three main sectors of water use viz. irrigation, domestic and industrial. These guidelines aim to introduce, standardize and popularize the water audit system for conservation of water in all sectors and improve the water use efficiency.
Categories of Water Audit
Based on the extent of water consumption, Water Audit can be divided into four categories.
- Large Water users: This class of users covers large Industries, Agriculture Municipalities and Metros with consumption more than 15 million litres per day (MLD).
- Medium Water Users: This class of users covers Industrial clusters, Central Effluents Treatment Plants (CETP’s), Medium Industries and township with demand ranging from 3 MLD to 15 MLD.
- Small Water Users: Large Hotels, IT Parks, Theme Parks, Industrial and Private Township with demand of 0.5 MLD to 3 MLD.
- Tiny water Users: all other users with consumption less than 0.5 MLD such as Commercial complexes, Government Offices/Buildings, Builders, Colonies etc.
Benefits of water audit
Water audit improves the knowledge and documentation of the distribution system, problems and risk areas and therefore builds a better understanding of water handling system right from source to disposal/treatment. . Leak detection programs help in minimizing leakages and tackling small problems before they become major ones. These programs have the potential to-
- Reduce water losses
- Improve financial performance
- Improve reliability of supply system
- Enhance knowledge of the distribution system
- Increase efficiency in the use of existing supplies
- Create Better safeguard to public health and property
- Improve public relations
- Reduce legal liability, and reduced disruption, thereby improving level of service to customers.
Steps involved in water audit
The steps involved in water audit are depicted in the schematic below
Five steps for water audit;
Efficient use of water can be a part of the environmental strategy of a business, just like reducing the carbon footprint. Analysing risk and opportunities associated with water allow organization to assess water related risks and opportunities. Water audit is qualitative and quantitative analysis of water consumption and it also help to assess significant social and environmental impacts associated with water scarcity.
Know more about Water scarcity and India
Know more about Earth’s water distribution and Indian scenario
Reference: General Guidelines for Water Audit, Central Water Commission , Government of India