Nearly every step of the winemaking process from crush to bottle requires the use of water. Water is also the largest input in winery sanitation practices.
Key to achieving sustainability is the ability to effectively obtain, use, re-use, manage, and discharge quality water. Winerywise gives winery personnel insight into best water management practices including water saving techniques and re-use opportunities which are vital to sustainable water management practices.
Because there is a close tie between water use and energy use, water savings can have a significant impact on the operating costs for the winery. Likewise, careful management of water quality by controlling chemical inputs and employing water conservation techniques such as water reuse can result in significant cost savings.
Effective water management must be part of a continuous improvement process. Winerywise recommends following these steps to develop a sustainable water management strategy:
- Establish a water management program. Become familiar with the full range of wise water use issues - technology available, regulatory constraints, and engineering economics.
- Monitor and assess the amount and quality of water used and discharged. Sound water conservation and water quality management require monitoring and recording the amount and quality of water the winery takes in from wells, municipalities, and surface water, as well as the water discharged to waste water ponds, septic systems, or municipalities. Map your operations to identify water use points, product flow and production rates, seasonality, scheduling and throughput. Evaluate the process map to identify opportunities to reduce water usage. Use and align the opportunities with future plans for expansion or upgrades. Determine the feasible options for reducing water used and pollution caused by each activity. Don't overlook storm water. Prioritize the options by their value to cost ratio, fund and schedule the desired improvements.
- Train employees and develop water management and conservation incentives. With water use assessments in hand, a winery can compare water used to industry standards and determine where conservation practices can be implemented or improved using specific operations to obtain optimum efficiency. Integrate changes into daily operations and procedures.
- Continuously improve your water management program. Monitor and reassess water management as part of your overall effort to continuously refine your operations. Track water use on a unit of production basis and periodically re-audit water use operations.