Industry insights

What Is Sustainable Water Management And How Can We Achieve It?

2 min read

By Matt Stimpson |  Published

Our planet Earth only has a finite amount of natural resources. So the key to conserving water – one of the most precious resources of all – is to bring in sustainable water management. While it’s essential that we all get more environmentally-friendly in the way we live from day to day, what does sustainable water management really mean and how do we do it?

What Is Sustainable Water Management?

In a nutshell, sustainable water management is ensuring there’s enough clean, fresh drinking water to meet the needs of the current and future generations, as well as for domestic, farming, industry, and other sector uses. But it’s also about planning for the future and making sure there’s a water supply that’s consistent and fit for purpose, even through the climate effects of drought or excessive rainfall.

Managed sustainable water systems around the world would give sufficient water quantity and quality for every need without impacting the ability to provide the same for generations to come. But while these systems mean having water for traditional needs and uses, it’s also about developing sustainable techniques to help minimise or eliminate the use of fresh water where it’s traditionally been used in large quantities, such as car washes and sanitisation.

Earth’s water sources

All the water on Earth can be broken down into freshwater (3%) and seawater (97%). According to the IWA, none are without certain challenges, financial or otherwise, in becoming a sustainable water source. But each can be harnessed and sustainably managed to fulfil our future water supply needs.

  • Groundwater

Around 98% of the world’s naturally sourced, underground freshwater is considered to be a highly sustainable water source.

  • Surface water

Rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and wetlands provide limited water resources and various levels of pollution mean it’s not safe to drink without suitable treatment.

  • Seawater

Desalination of salty seawater has been in effect in parts of the world for decades where freshwater is lacking. But it’s expensive, uses more energy, and releases more emissions. It can be sustainable if the process harnesses the power of renewable energies.

How our water is used

Sustainable water management needs to happen – and quickly – to prevent water shortages around the world. With the water available to us, there are three key areas where it’s used most:

  • Agriculture

Around the world, agriculture uses more freshwater than any other sector or industry and is responsible for up to 80% of global use.

  • Industry

Water is used in practically every industry and sector around the world for washing, cleaning, cooling, diluting, processing, and sanitisation and can account for up to 20% of global water consumption.

  • Domestic

Depending on usage, the average household needs approximately 20-50 litres of clean, fresh water per person per day, accounting for up to 10% of global use.

To achieve a fully sustainable water supply system with reduced wastage will need technology and continued investment. But it’s crucial to ensuring the longevity of a vital natural resource and getting the result of reducing our reliance on it and conserving it for future generations.

Efficient water irrigation and delivery, and other innovations including rainwater harvesting, will be key for future agriculture and manufacturing industries. Domestically, water use could decrease by adopting similar methods, using more water-efficient appliances, having waterless alternatives for traditional water-based activities, and having a more efficient network of piping to reduce leaks.

Sustainable water from Thirsty Work

While each of our mains fed water coolers provide fully-filtered water with zero waste every time, our bottled water coolers use pure, naturally filtered water taken from our own groundwater source. Rising up 60m through the limestone of the Shropshire Hills, our spring is in a site of specific scientific interest so it’s regulated, fully managed, conserved, and packed full of natural minerals.

For more information, find out where our water comes from, and about our environmental policies contact our Customer Service team today. Call 01392 877 172 or email and we’ll answer your questions as well as getting you started with your risk-free, 10-day water cooler trial.