AGFOCERT can provide ISO 46001:2019 certifications.

How ISO 46001 can help organizations save water and money

Water is a vital resource for life, but it is also a scarce and unevenly distributed one. While some parts of the world are ‘flush’ with freshwater, others face serious drought. What’s more, only a fraction of the world’s freshwater is available for us to use and drink, as the rest is in the sea or frozen in glaciers or snowfields. As the world’s population continues to put pressure on this limited supply, being more efficient with what we have is our only solution. A new International Standard has just been published to help.

ISO 46001:2019, Water efficiency management systems – Requirements with guidance for use, is a standard that specifies requirements and provides guidance for establishing, implementing and maintaining a water efficiency management system. It is applicable to organizations of all types and sizes that use water, whether for domestic, industrial, agricultural or recreational purposes.

The standard helps organizations to achieve the efficient use of water through the ‘reduce, replace or reuse’ approach. This means using water-efficient fittings and equipment, monitoring water usage and leak detection, substituting drinking water with reclaimed water, sea water or rainwater wherever feasible, and recycling process water or grey water.

By following the standard, organizations can not only save water and money, but also contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), which seeks to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”.

ISO 46001 was developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 224, Service activities relating to drinking water supply, wastewater and stormwater systems. The committee’s secretary, Mr. Olivier Peyrat, said that the standard is based on the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle, which allows organizations to continually improve their water efficiency performance.

“The standard provides a systematic approach for measuring and monitoring water consumption, identifying opportunities for improvement, implementing action plans and evaluating their effectiveness,” he said. “It also helps organizations to comply with legal and regulatory requirements related to water use.”

Mr. Peyrat added that ISO 46001 is compatible with other ISO management system standards, such as ISO 9001 (quality), ISO 14001 (environment) and ISO 50001 (energy), which can facilitate its integration into existing management systems.