Similar to a financial audit, according to the Alliance For Water Efficiency, a water audit is an audit that compares the amount of water pumped and being treated to the amount of water consumed by the end-user as well as for other community activities. Using water efficiently is not just good for the environment; it’s a good business strategy, and a successful water audit is the place to start. Reducing your water use can save you money on your water, energy bills, and cut landscape maintenance costs. Every property is different, but a water audit is one of the best places to learn about your water use. Water audits provide a way to identify ways to increase water use efficiency.
The results help prioritize steps to implement cost-effective water-saving measures. Conducting a water audit can help you save money by reducing your water bill and sewer bill. It is possible to cut your water usage by as much as 50 percent by implementing simple conservation measures and without drastically changing the way you water. A water audit provides a baseline to measure against your property for years to come so you can have meaningful conversations about water management.
Ensure the proper functioning of the existing irrigation infrastructure
Understanding what you have to start with is key to the potential changes you will make and the return on investment of those changes. Many systems need improvement upon while others take a complete retrofit. An initial review of the system should include controller type and name, issues with the controller, number of stations in use, the total number of stations, year of manufacture, and a photo for reference. A mainline static pressure reading should be taken at this time, too, and all stations should be surveyed with a wet check.
Identifying water-efficient components is required for a water audit
Identify each zone on a map and inventory irrigation components. Note what types of plants you are watering. This is valuable for later recommendations. For example, when you find you are watering seasonal color with spray heads. This provides two opportunities to save. Annual color can change to perennials, and spray heads can be changed to drip irrigation. Also, note soil types and high light changes in soil type.
A proper water audit assesses landscape health
Is the overall landscape lush, healthy, wilting, stressed, spotted, or dead. Is there sufficient mulch? How is the general landscape maintenance? How much of the landscape is low/medium/high water use? Photos are an excellent tool here.
Verify water savings potential
Review past water bills and compare them to water use if you were watering to meet the plants’ water requirements. This is the best indication of overwatering and provides the estimates for how fast your improved irrigation system will pay for itself. You can see an excellent sample here.
Provide a water audit report with photo documentation, GPS telematics, and geotagging
The final report sums up potential savings. It prioritizes what changes offer the best results, and it provides a path to water savings. An audit provides crucial insights into landscaping operations where previous property owners had to rely on best guesses and manual processes. These audit reports deliver actionable data to realize immediate bottom-line cost savings and recommendations for sustainable savings in the future
A water audit should be fully customizable and help companies digitally centralizing the management of operational costs and controls outside the building. It is also a measurement tool for determining the performance of the landscape maintenance. It ensures the success of a water management retrofit because it gives a baseline to measure progress and should be the first step you take on your water management journey.