This article was featured in Infrastructure Magazine.
Water is the most precious commodity on Earth. Forget minerals, oil and other assets that we utilise. Without this vital liquid, no life on the planet will remain.
We all have a responsibility to address reducing our need for water, whether this is the individual, companies, or those responsible for the planning of smart cities. When it comes to the latter, not every metropolis will have the same challenges – at least not initially.
Considerations for water management will depend on geographical location, projected climate change, existing bodies of water and more. The concept of ‘smart water’ encompasses multiple factors that will both provide water to users and conserve it for future use, such as:
- Collation of real-time water requirement data
- Managing water flow, pressure and distribution to users
- Forecasting future water needs
- The construction of storage tanks and reservoirs to collect and hold stormwater
- Efficient treatment and storage of both drinking water and other water use (in other words, water that doesn’t need to be fit for human consumption).
Recycling water will play a huge part in meeting these goals and conservation methods that reduce unnecessary demand. An ambitious example already in the construction phase is an initiative in Abu Dhabi that plans to construct two huge pipelines within the city. This will allow 265,000 cubic metres of water recycling to be carried out per day.
Singapore already has an effective water recycling system in place – the Hydrohub.
By recycling wastewater and treating it by forwarding the osmosis process, they utilise industrial water that’s treated to provide drinking water for its citizens. The aim is that this will eventually encompass 100% of all wastewaters in the city.
Of course, the key to conservation is to reduce water wastage in the first place. Companies are responsible for embracing plans to recycle and reuse the liquid and prevent unnecessary leakages. Sadly, industrial water leaks remain common, especially in mining, manufacturing and food & beverage industries.
Addressing Industrial Water Wastage
Water leaks are usually the result of inadequate sealing. Outdated packing and seals around rotating equipment are still commonly used, and these create excessive heat that requires large volumes of clean, cool water to prevent overheating. Not only is this expensive, but in today’s increasingly water-scarce landscape, it could be considered unethical and unsustainable.
Thankfully, there are viable solutions. These include double mechanical seals, innovative packing and continuous loop water management systems. From dramatically reducing leakage rates and protecting bearings from fluid ingress to preventing the friction that requires ongoing flushing, the first two solutions are simple changes that any maintenance team can easily action.
The latter of the continuous loop water management system is something that future smart water technology will further introduce. It involves a system being directly connected to a plant’s waterline, offering a regulated film of fluid that protects the faces of the seal and cools via passive heat exchange. The result will reduce water wastage too as close to zero as possible.
The monetary and environmental preservation possible through the available sealing and packing technology is enormous. One outstanding example includes the pump packing and solutions from sealing specialists Chesterton. Along with the future water management systems that will become more commonplace over the next years and decades, these are the answer to water preservation and the preservation of life on our planet.
Companies can’t afford not to pay full attention to their water usage and management. Discover more about the solutions on offer today: contact us!