How a Holistic Approach Can Reduce Costs
Droughts tend to conjure images of water restriction notices, failed crops, and tumbleweed running across dusty landscapes, as in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. And while it’s true that droughts lead to dire consequences for agriculture, the overall negative impact of drought to business is broader than most imagine.
Drought by Definition
A drought is a shortage of water, either lower-than-average precipitations (rain or snow), reduced stored water (in underground aquifers or mountain snow packs), or agricultural impacts (e.g. lower yields). Since 1980, 26 droughts have cost the US close to a quarter trillion dollars, with an average cost per event around 10 billion dollars. Only hurricanes were more costly. In particular, the Western U.S. has been experiencing a megadrought for the last 20 years, with reservoirs dwindling fast. The biggest of those reservoirs, the Colorado River Basin, which supplies water to seven Western states and parts of Northern Mexico, is dangerously shrinking. The historically low water levels in Lake Mead routinely make national headlines.
Economic Impact of Drought
Considering that the resource is not limitless, water scarcity triggers mitigating measures to prevent reservoirs from reaching critically low levels. But most often the public focus tends to be limited to the impacts to agriculture with rising food prices or restrictions imposed on the population in residential areas, e.g. prohibition of lawn watering and reduced tap water consumption. However, the negative impacts of drought extend beyond these two examples, to literally all economic sectors, with droughts dramatically affecting any business that uses water and/or power. This is due to the fact that the energy sector, from hydroelectric to nuclear power plants, requires a lot of water. In fact, it is responsible for about half of all the water consumption in the US and Europe.
Therefore, restrictions put in place to preserve water resources directly affect power generation and lead to reduced power yields. Through the rules of supply and demand, this translates to higher energy costs, thus increasing businesses’ overhead and damaging the bottom line of any enterprise relying on power for its normal operation. Businesses that require both water and power to operate, are doubly affected by water cutbacks slicing a second time into their balance sheets by directly affecting their outputs. This explains why such restrictions are unpopular and difficult to put in place, despite their necessity.
Data Centers Are Power Hungry and Water Thirsty
One perfect example of such a double impact can be found in the data centers that make cloud technologies possible. These facilities not only require tremendous power to operate their countless servers, they also need vast amounts of water for their cooling towers to prevent the fragile electronics in these servers from overheating. In the U.S. alone, data centers use about 174 billion gallons of industrial water every year. To make matters worse, the recent pandemic and subsequent paradigm shift to hybrid/remote work resulted in an increased demand on cloud-based streaming and video conferencing services. And to accommodate this ravenous need for more and more data, countless Gargantuesque data centers have been sprouting across the country. Even in arid Mesa, Arizona, where city officials recently approved the construction of a new data center, is expected to churn through 1.25 million gallons of water daily.
So, under drought conditions, how can a business use the water resource responsibly, while yet maintaining efficiency, and safeguarding its bottom line? Read further on how Garratt-Callahan helps its clients tackle water and energy usage with optimized industrial water treatment.
Water Conservation Through Treatment Optimization
It is now clear that water conservation is crucial to the preservation of dwindling reservoirs. And drought-stricken places may soon follow San Francisco’s lead, which imposes all new developments over 250,000 square feet to have their own onsite wastewater reuse systems.
G-C is also an expert on industrial systems, especially those that consume more water and require more energy to run when operating outside of optimum conditions, as is the case when corrosion, scale, or biofilms impede their efficiency. That’s why we help our drought-impacted and energy-conscious clients tackle the competing priorities of water resource preservation and their own production efficiency through treatment optimization. Our technical support teams know that the industrial water systems at the core of their boilers, cooling towers, and manufacturing facilities are vital to protect their outputs and bottom line. G-C adopts a holistic approach to optimizing industrial operations while conserving water with a combination of filtration technologies (e.g. NF and RO), fine-tuned chemistry, and continuous monitoring of key performance indicators (KPIs).
Sustainability + Safety = Savings
Reducing the environmental footprint of large industrial facilities like data centers and manufacturing operations is a complex issue, including water usage, energy consumption, chemical sourcing, etc. With local, state and national regulators focusing more attention on industrial water use, G-C continues to propose innovative water treatment solutions to improve sustainability and safety, e.g. the SolidTrac® water treatment chemical delivery system, which replaces more hazardous and carbon-hungry drum-based chemical delivery systems.
To track and refine your KPIs, G-C’s LumiTrac® High Cycle Water Conservation Program provides you with the continuous monitoring capability you need to run your facility at peak performance. Such monitoring enables you to sustainably preserve your bottom line through reduced energy costs, smaller carbon footprint, and the potential to reduce water use by over 70%.
Garratt-Callahan is actively engaged in helping our customers holistically reduce their energy and water usage across their operations. Start today with a complimentary onsite evaluation to help your facility develop a comprehensive, optimized water treatment plan that includes ongoing, real-time monitoring and continuous improvement.
Garratt-Callahan uses corrosion and scale inhibitors that protect multi-metal systems from a wide range of mineral deposits and corrosive processes – at virtually all temperatures, cycles of concentration, and makeup conditions. Our dispersants effectively remove rust, mud, sand, and other debris from tower and pipe surfaces. And our EPA approved biocides control algal, fungal, and bacterial slimes.
Industrial Water Treatment
Garratt-Callahan started with servicing the boilers that powered steam-locomotives of the Industrial Revolution. Our expertise in industrial water treatment service continues today for all types of industries and facilities. Our water treatment expertise — demonstrated through on-site consulting, chemical applications, equipment maintenance, and customer service — are more than just 100+ years old. Our client relationships are built on fairness, honesty, and integrity. By thoroughly understanding your needs and challenges, we can roll up our sleeves to find sustainable solutions that work.
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