In 2024, health care facilities are confronted with a diminishing water supply aggravated by climate change, surging populations and pollution. Clean water is the lifeblood of health care, fundamental to both patient care and daily operations. Solving this issue calls for a multifaceted approach to address water optimization and conservation, all while maintaining the highest standards of patient care and safety.

Water reuse has emerged as a critical solution and is supported by the Environmental Protection Agency. Health care facilities can implement advanced treatment systems, such as reverse osmosis and ultraviolet disinfection, to recycle and repurpose treated wastewater for nonpotable purposes, ensuring the safety of this recycled water. By doing so, health care facilities conserve precious, clean drinking water for essential needs while alleviating the strain on sewage systems.

Efficient water use also is pivotal for health care facilities management. Implementing strategies such as smart irrigation, low-flow fixtures, rainwater harvesting and continuous monitoring can significantly reduce water waste. These measures not only conserve water but also contribute to lower operational costs.

Proactive water monitoring is another indispensable tool. This technology enables continuous oversight of water usage, allowing facilities to identify inefficiencies and make immediate adjustments when necessary.

Staff education and engagement in water-saving initiatives such as these are essential. By adhering to these policies and promoting public awareness, health care facilities not only demonstrate their commitment to patient care but also to the broader community.

In a world faced with diminishing water supply, health care facilities must proactively embrace water reuse, optimize consumption and employ continuous monitoring. American Society for Health Care Engineering members can start today by visiting the link in this column and downloading the Water Management Gap Analysis Worksheet.

Jennifer Caldwell, chief marketing officer at Aquanomix, Davidson, N.C.