Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Masters of Science (Research)


Cork Institute of Technology

First Advisor

Noel B. Duffy


Due to this decade of rapid growth, Ireland has to face difficulties created by an increase use of water as well as a decreasing water quality due to sewage discharges, agriculture and industries.

The awareness of the danger to the environment, resulting from the over extraction and stricter discharge regulations, has caused the cost of freshwater and wastewater treatment to rise. Therefore there is a growing interest in the manufacturing industries to reduce both freshwater consumption and wastewater production by improving the efficiency of their processes.

Three industrial sectors were studied following the same methodology: the pharmaceutical sector, the textiles dyeing and finishing sector and the dairy sector. Firstly, the water usage and opportunities for water minimisation were examined in one company of each industrial sector. Secondly, the existing practices related to water minimisation cited in the literature were reviewed specifically for each sector. From the gathered information a survey was carried out of industries in these branches in Ireland to determine their practice and performance towards water minimisation.

The results were analysed utilising benchmarking values as performance indicators for each industry and each sector. By using the benchmarking technique, the performance of each company could be assessed and compared with best practice and industry average and standards available from the literature. I’he reference parameter used for manufacturing companies within one sector is t5q^ically the production rate. However the suitability of other parameters was also examined for expressing the environmental performance of industries within a same branch.

The results of this survey highlight the difference of performance and practice implemented in the three industrial sectors as well as, in average, a large potential for water savings in the Irish industry.

Key-words: water minimisation, benchmarking, best practice, re-use, recycling.

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