The key areas of water use are scouring, dyeing, bleaching and finishing. Other water uses include toilets, air conditioning, cooling towers, equipment and site cleaning. The following diagrams show that water use varies between different textile operations. It may be necessary to conduct a water audit or water balance, to help you identify key opportunities for saving water.
The Australian textile, clothing, footwear and leather industry has an annual turnover of $9.3 million and employs about 65,000 people. The industry uses about 50 Gigalitres of water per year, or 7% of the total water used in the manufacturing sector (Australian Water Account, 2004). The industry also uses significant amounts of chemicals, most of which are applied to the fabric using water as a medium. These include dyes and bleaches, detergents, acids, salts, softeners and fire retardants. The use of these chemicals is a significant issue concerning water use - wastewater from textile plants can be environmentally damaging if not treated appropriately and chemicals within wastewater make reuse schemes more difficult.
Simple solutions can provide significant water savings in the textiles industry. There are many ways to save water that do not cost much money. Simple solutions involve:
Non-Residential Laundries use large volumes of water with potential for significant water and cost savings. Where is the water in a non-residential Laundry used and how can you ensure water use efficiency.
The hospitality sector demonstrates that saving water not only saves money, but also provides an important marketing edge in a very competitive industry.