The aim of this work is to provide the necessary steps to acquire the total cost of water at industrial facilities. Therefore, the research was developed in three parts: literature review to identify the available tools related to water management; a case study in the context of the dairy industry; and an analysis and discussion of results achieved. Water applications for process and utility end-users in the manufacturing context require pre- and post-treatment – these are interconnected assets that increase the cost of water, and introduce system inefficiencies, thus, they represent a challenge faced by companies and energy/utility managers. A meta-analysis approach was used to examine data from several independent studies of water management, in order to determine overall trends. The sources utilized during the study were water-related scientific publications, Master theses, books, companies, and standards’ websites. The results of the study highlight that auditing can be used to investigate water flows within productive processes entirely, as well as within individual process units and operations. The present study incorporates water-related thinking about supply and demand costs, opportunities, and strategies, promoting energy systems thinking and providing an internationally replicable solution to calculate the true cost of water.
Water used for process and utility applications in the manufacturing context requires pre- and post-treatment. Moreover, further energy input is also required from utility systems such as cooling towers, chillers, and boilers to meet temperature requirements. This work provides an understanding of the necessary steps in order to acquire the total cost of water at industrial facilities.