save water

If asked about the impacts of new construction projects, it’s not uncommon for people to express concern about additional pressure on the local water supply.

Construction isn’t necessarily water heavy in and of itself. Instead, this reputation is largely due to inefficient water use onsite.

Water resources are coming under more pressure due to our changing climate. This means all industries need to take a hard look at their practices and identify ways they can save water.

How water is used in construction

Construction could not happen without water as it is essential to a number of processes. By looking at the essential uses of water onsite, construction companies can more easily identify areas where water usage can be reduced.

Examples of some essential uses of water on a construction site include:

  • drinking water for construction workers
  • ablution facilities
  • mixing of cement
  • site cleaning - including machinery, tools, roads and pathways
  • dust suppression
  • hydrostatic testing.

How construction companies can save water

Water is a necessity on any construction site but there are quite a few ways that most construction projects could potentially cut their usage.

Rainwater harvesting

Water collected in rainwater tanks can be used for washing tools and vehicles, mixing cement, dust suppression, cleaning of roads and pathways, and could even be connected to the onsite ablution facilities to be used to flush toilets.

Using greywater

Much like rainwater harvesting, collected greywater from showers and basins and even some collected water from onsite washing can be reused for other water-dependent tasks. For example, some greywater is clean enough to be used for washing tools and vehicles and most greywater can be used for dust suppression. Greywater is also an ideal alternative for flushing toilets.

Water-wise dust suppression

High-capacity rain guns and hoses that are used to wet down construction sites for dust suppression use an unnecessary amount of water. Rather opt for misting or atomising systems that use minimal water and are actually more effective at dust suppression.

Low-pressure cleaning systems for pathways

High-pressure washing systems use a lot of water so consider using low-pressure alternatives for cleaning pathways. Also, see where it might be possible to eliminate pathway cleaning or only do it when it is absolutely necessary.

Fixing leaks

Even a small leak can amount to huge water losses over time. Make sure all hoses have auto shut off nozzles and that there are no drips from joins in pipes feeding water to the construction site. Also, check taps for leaks and put up signage reminded workers to close taps properly. Water transport trucks should also be regularly checked for leaks.

Reduce cleaning wastage

Cleaning tools and vehicles can be fairly water heavy. Consider using a reservoir of water for workers to clean tools, instead of them doing it under a running tap. Cleaning of heavy machinery and vehicles can also be done less frequently where appropriate and should be done with buckets instead of hoses or high-pressure washers.

At KH Plant, we specialise in rebuilding Caterpillar 140G, 140H and 140K graders to as-new condition. Buying a reconditioned grader instead of a new one can also reduce your carbon footprint. Call us on +27 83 274 4882 or contact us online to find out more.

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