As mining operations are critically dependent on water and conservation of water resources, a water balance serves as the ultimate tool to assess the current status, in addition to identifying discrepancies, shortages and leakages within the distribution network. Development and implementation of a water balance provides an interactive water management tool which assists with the design of storage requirements, ensuring an informed decision-making process driving management strategies. A water balance can be described as the measurement and determination of flow in and out of a system, which is also considered the main building block in developing a salt balance (estimation of salt concentrations within the reticulating system). As water is re-circulated in the interests of water conservation, salt concentrations increase, posing several complications to the system, including corrosion of metal components, brine accumulation categorizing to hazardous material and health risks which directly increases operational, treatment and replacement costs.
Implementation of a water balance does not only provide a pro-active approach to water conservation and management strategies, but ensures a cost saving method as a foundation for salt balance estimations and mitigation of risks.