Water Management Plan
Strategic planning for a comprehensive water management plan includes eight essential components to either creating or enhancing your water reduction and efficiency plan:
- Measure/benchmark current water consumption. Establishing a baseline against which future reductions will be measured is an important first step in tracking progress. Once a baseline has been established, an organization can continue to measure consumption on an ongoing basis and quantify the savings from reduction efforts.
- Develop a water usage profile. A water use profile will help clarify how water is used in various building systems (e.g., HVAC, sanitary, medical process, laundry, etc.); see the accompanying figure. Submetering can also be provided for discrete building systems to help identify reduction opportunities to refine the performance of those systems. Understanding your baseline and water use profile will help you better understand the best opportunities for improvement at your facility. (More resources: Saving Water Counts in Energy Efficiency)
- Build teams, get leadership support, assign dedicated resources.Create a multi-stakeholder sustainability or green team with representatives from departments that share responsibility for water use planning, usage and management. A subcommittee (e.g., Water Conservation Council) may provide focused water reduction expertise and efforts.
- Set targets/goals. It is important to set both short- and long-term reduction goals for water use reductions and integrate them into a meaningful and achievable water management plan. Target setting allows an organization to establish reasonable, SMART goals that are consistent with a basic, intermediate or advance approach. Finally, the target goals will inform which performance improvement measures to implement to achieve the goals.
- Develop strategic action plans for improvement. The Roadmap performance improvement measures list is designed to help you pick and choose projects to help you meet your goals.
- Implement projects. Execute the performance improvement measures that will result in water use reductions for your facility. Note the Green Light measures, which represent the "low-hanging fruit."
- Track, measure, and report. It's important to begin to track your water reduction efforts for several reasons: (1) to verify they are meeting the intended goal, (2) to track cost and operational savings, (3) to monitor staff satisfaction and (4) to report on all of these successes, or failures, to inform your next steps and give you traction as you prepare for the next project. Use newsletters, regular reports to leadership (a quarterly sustainability dashboard report card works well), e-blasts and other communication channels to keep staff and the community informed of your commitments and progress.
- Train, educate, and celebrate. Users must be educated of the reasons for any changes, trained on work practice changes, and informed with ongoing feedback to how the action plan’s progress is meeting the goals. Training and education is both formal, with specific learning objectives, (compliance or policy-related training should be documented), and informal with educational materials that includes posters, information sharing in newsletters, e-blasts and a variety of media. Informed staff are engaged staff. Recognizing individual and collective efforts through awards or other recognition programs also provides opportunities to celebrate and communicate the valuable work being accomplished. Don’t let a success go unrecognized.