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Coordinating Water Procurement and Management for Large Projects

The process of procuring the water required for any major infrastructure project can be complex and involve a variety of stakeholders. Whether it’s bulk water for construction activities such as dust suppression or hydrotesting, or a permanent water supply to serve sites once in service, developing a water procurement and management plan is essential to securing the water needed for a successful project.

One of the main challenges in water procurement is ensuring there is enough water available to meet the needs of the project. This can be particularly difficult in areas that are prone to drought or have limited water resources. Additionally, water procurement activities must comply with local laws and regulations regarding water use and management. This includes obtaining necessary permits and licenses and adhering to regulations regarding the collection, storage, distribution, and discharge of water. This can be a complex process that requires careful planning and coordination.


The first step in water procurement for large projects is to identify potential sources of water. These may include surface water sources such as lakes, rivers, and streams, or groundwater sources such as wells, aquifers, and municipal and rural water suppliers. This can be accomplished by researching publicly available water data and maps, and by direct supplier outreach and investigation. Potential surface sources require evaluation of local hydrology, topography, geology, climate, and land use. Discussions with potential municipal and rural water suppliers will determine if water is available, flowrate, acquisition costs, and how to navigate the application process. Source assessments will help identify primary and secondary sources to pursue.


Once a source has been identified, it is important to conduct a thorough assessment of the water quality to ensure it is suitable for the intended use. This may require coordinating with water source providers or arranging for water sample collection and testing. Water quality can be a particular concern when utilizing sources of re-use water, such as greywater or treated wastewater, as these may contain contaminants that could be harmful to workers or the environment. Companies may need to invest in water treatment equipment or work with water treatment experts to ensure that the water they are using is safe and fit for the intended purpose.

Companies can implement several strategies to ensure a reliable and sustainable water supply. One such strategy is to invest in water-efficient technologies and practices. This can include using low-flow fixtures and appliances, recycling greywater and rainwater, and implementing water-saving measures on-site. Another strategy is to work closely with local water utilities to ensure that the sites are connected to a reliable water supply. This can involve partnering with these organizations to identify potential bulk procurement points, as well as working with them to develop plans for ensuring a sustainable water supply for the project.


Next, it is important to identify and engage with the stakeholders who will be impacted by the project. This may include local communities, government agencies, foreign utilities and infrastructure, and private landowners. Consult with these stakeholders to understand their concerns and interests, and to seek their input on the project design and implementation. The process of stakeholder engagement helps to build support for the project and can help to mitigate potential conflicts.


Once the water source has been identified and the stakeholders have been engaged, the next step is to obtain the necessary permits and approvals for the project. This may involve obtaining water rights and permits from government agencies, land use and zoning approvals from local authorities, pipeline utility crossing agreements or bulk water hauling permits. Relevant authority approval prior to construction is critical. Conditions of approval may include a specific use, allocated amounts, location, timing/duration, quality standards, discharge requirements, and mitigation measures to minimize the impact of intended use and disposal on the environment. Developing and implementing a water use plan to comply with restrictions will set expectations across the project team and ensure the project stays in compliance.


The construction and operation of major infrastructure projects can be a significant undertaking. Implementation of a robust water management and monitoring plan during operation is also a crucial element. This may include regular monitoring of the water quality and quantity, as well as employing measures to conserve water and prevent contamination. It is also important to engage with stakeholders to ensure that they understand the importance of the project and to maintain their support.


Water procurement is a complex process that requires careful planning and management. It is important to identify a suitable water source, engage with stakeholders, obtain the necessary permits and approvals, and implement a detailed project and water use management plan during construction. Additionally, a robust water management and monitoring plan is required to ensure that facilities are operated in a sustainable and responsible manner. TurnKey has a staff trained and experienced in water procurement and management, and we’re ready to assist on your next project.


By: Jessica Timmons, SR/WA, Water Permitting Manager, TurnKey Logistics, LLC

April 18, 2023


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