Finally, creating added value to the water is examined. Not only through reuse but also through the use of residual products, ultimately lowering the water footprint and achieving savings on, among other things, energy consumption and/or the use of chemicals. In short, the ‘total cost of ownership’
Now that the Netherlands is also increasingly dealing with water stress, the urgency to use our water more economically is growing. Until recently it was taken for granted that sufficient (high-quality) water was available, but this is no longer a certainty. Paul Kloet, Deputy Director of Iv-Water, feels the industry sector has an excellent opportunity to improve its water balance significantly. “Even though the industry sector is making great strides, opportunities are still being missed. For example, when it comes to the circularity of water, the reuse of used water streams whether or not by applying (treatment) technologies. These technologies allow us to use water efficiently, with the correct specification. As a result, a reduction in drinking water intake could be achieved in many cases.”
Paul refers to the fact that drinking water, which was even scarce in the Netherlands for a while in the warm and dry summer of 2022, is relatively cheap for companies to purchase, even if they do not use it as drinking water. Partly because of this, the water balance is sometimes off-balance. “People need to become more aware of the importance of the value of water. One possibility is to increase the price, but the social value can also play a role by increasing the sustainability ambitions in which the industry sector can make a significant contribution.”
Broad knowledge and approach
The positive effects of an optimised water balance are clear: less water wastage, reuse of water, and thus a reduction in drinking water intake, which directly contributes to reducing our water stress. In addition, this balance can provide insight into the possible reuse of (waste) substances from the treated water. However, establishing such a water balance is only a start. Iv-Water has the broad in-house knowledge to provide clarity and insight into that balance and implement or propose optimisations. In the end, specialisms within other divisions are also needed to achieve improved water management.
It’s all about bundling different technologies, such as those that use filtration, biology, reverse osmosis and polishing”, says Paul. “Ultimately, we want to achieve an integral design in which we deploy for example RAMS, cost and contract experts alongside our process technologists, civil engineers, mechanical engineers and EIA engineers (Electrical, Instrumentation and Automation). This broad approach which Iv has chosen has many advantages. It concerns a choice in not only process technology but also an approach to aspects such as maintainability, availability, sustainability (such as energy consumption and minimal CO2 emissions) and the necessary space requirements.”
Optimising the water balance and tackling scarcity, therefore, requires an integral approach but also an approach that is fit for the long term. The optimisation contributes to limiting water use and the futureproofing of (existing) installations of (water) companies. Future-proofness must be guaranteed, and sufficient surface and groundwater are thereby essential