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Managing water usage on construction sites


Builders use water for a variety of functions on the job. They utilize this resource for worker hydration, concrete batching, grouting, dust suppression, soakaway testing, pond filling, hydro-demolition, and drilling and piling. If companies mismanage this water use, they can increase their environmental impact.


Water is a precious commodity in Arizona and climate change is placing increasing pressure on our country’s already constrained water resources. But while there has been much discussion about the role of green buildings in reducing carbon emissions, the preservation and efficient use of water in construction is often overlooked. 

The construction industry consumes a considerable amount of water in its day-to-day operations, using it at every stage of a project’s lifecycle. Unfortunately, many construction companies do not have adequate measures in place to reduce excessive water consumption, resulting in millions of gallons going to waste.

Consequently, the industry needs to carefully examine its water usage practices and identify ways to minimize water wastage.

Among the main contributors to onsite water consumption are dust suppression activities, hydro-demolition, vehicle and equipment washing, wet trades such as bricklaying, plastering, concreting and screeding, and groundworks such as drilling and grouting.  While all these activities are integral to a construction site’s daily operations, there’s no escaping the fact that they are water-intensive.

Drive awareness 

Water conservation should be prioritized at each stage of a construction project, including planning and design. Everyone involved in the project must understand the importance of reducing the project’s water footprint, including their individual role in attaining this objective. 

Change behavior

Even simple changes can make a difference. Tools and vehicles can be cleaned with buckets of water rather than running water, while paths and gutters can be swept clear instead of being hosed down. 

Taps, pipes and hoses should be regularly checked for slow leaks as these can lead to an enormous loss of water over time. As much as 30 gallons of water an hour can be wasted from a dripping tap or leaking pipe. Multiply this by the number of taps and pipes in use on construction sites and you’re looking at a waterfall of wasted water.

Instead of relying primarily on mains water, contractors should consider using harvested rainwater, or recycled grey-water from onsite ablution facilities as an alternative source for daily onsite activities.

Additionally, they need to make sure that waste such as soil, sand and cement slurry does not wash into drains or stormwater systems and pollute any nearby streams and rivers.

The construction industry’s role in the national economy is undeniably important. But its contribution towards job creation and industrial development should not occur at the expense of our natural resources, especially water. The benefits of green building practices, which includes good water management, are well documented and there’s no reason why the preservation and efficient use of this life-giving resource shouldn’t rank higher on the construction industry’s environmental agenda.

Therefore, you must follow standard guidelines for deciding which water to use for construction work. Below I have mentioned few of the important factors that must be analyzed thoroughly before using water for construction purpose.

  • Water should be free from acid, alkalis, oil, grease and paint to allow proper bond with concrete. 

  • Ph value of water should be identical to neutral level of 7. 

  • Water should be free from salt content and if excessive salt content is present in water then it should be treated with proper procedures.

  • In general 27 degree Celsius is ideal water temperature for construction work and it is recommended to avoid extreme hot water for construction.

  • Water should be free from organic and silt content and turbidity should not exceed to1.0 NTU.

  • Avoid hard water for construction and post construction activity like curing. 

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