Water is the one integral ingredient you need to operate your restaurant.
The food you serve, cooking you do and proper sanitation practices you use probably wouldn’t exist without water.
But for restaurateurs, the big problem is you likely are wasting an enormous amount of the precious liquid every single day.
Think about it. A seemingly small leak, if left unfixed, could literally cost you hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year, and tens of thousands of gallons of water wasted (or more).
According to the Food Service Technology Center, these leaks — as well as thawing food under a running faucet — can drain you dry financially as well as impact our local streams, rivers and farms that all need water to survive.
So why aren’t we conserving more water? Perhaps we’re just thinking about it in the wrong way.
Here are three facts that could help bring about that change:
- The cost of water is rising faster than inflation. According to Circle of Blue, a nonprofit water research organization, the price of water shot up 6% in 30 major U.S. cities in 2014 alone. That’s a 33% increase in water prices over the last five years. In contrast, according to U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, average inflation in the United States was 1.6% in 2014 and the Consumer Price Index (an estimate for inflation) rose only 9% from 2010 to 2014.
- Less than 3% of all water is fresh water. Yes, it’s true. According to the S. Environmental Protection Agency, only 3% of the earth’s water is fresh water and 97% is salty. The water we collect from streams and in aquifers is limited, and most countries, including ours, are vastly overusing these resources. These issues are summed up nicely in a National Geographic video: Why Care About Water?
- If you waste water, you waste energy and vice versa. Bet you don’t often think that water needs to be pumped into your restaurant, that it has to be treated in sewer plants, and returned to streams. All of this requires energy. Alternately, many power plants often need water to cool down equipment, which consumes water through evaporation.
California serves as a good example. Twenty percent of the state’s electricity and 30% of the state’s non-power plant natural gas (i.e. natural gas not used to produce electricity) is used to move water to farms, houses and businesses. The average retail value of the electricity used across the state to move this water is approximately $9 billion a year.
Think about these three facts when you see your employees wasting water, when you find leaks in your sinks, or if you’re over-watering your lawn to the point where water runs on the sidewalk.
You may not currently have drought conditions in your area, but our water supply is limited and uses more resources than just the water itself.
Visit the National Restaurant Association’s Conserve program for low-cost best practices on preserving your water supply.
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