Preparing for the future: How to make your business more water efficient

Due to population growth, unsustainable abstraction and the impact of climate change, it’s expected that the UK will need an extra 3.4 billion litres of water per day to meet demand by 2050.

In response to the growing concern about the UK’s water supply and how long it’s expected to last, the 2021 Environment Act proposed a plan to reduce water use per head by 20% by the end of 2038, which includes a 9% reduction in business consumption and a 31% reduction in leakage.

The importance of water efficiency

Following record-breaking temperatures last year, droughts are likely to become more regular in the UK, meaning our water supply is under more pressure than ever before. If we’re all using water wisely, our lakes and rivers won’t be over abstracted and it’ll help make sure there’ll be enough to go round in the future.

The top 1% of non-household water users include the likes of food manufacturers, agriculture and hospitality, and account for roughly 50% of the demand. But collectively, UK businesses are responsible for around a third of our water consumption so it’s vital that everyone does their part to improve water efficiency, and cut down water wastage.

How will the deficit affect the future of my business?

The water deficit will paint a potentially tricky picture for business growth, particularly in the south east of England where demand for water is high and industrial processes are the most concentrated. If you’re planning to open new sites or complete any large projects in the future, you could be restricted depending on your region if wholesalers don’t have enough water to supply. Reducing your water footprint now, means more water to accommodate growth later.

And, with the introduction of the government’s net zero targets approaching, factoring water into your Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) strategy plan is a great place to start. You’ll be contributing to the 9% reduction target as well as your environmental goals and keeping costs down too.

How to improve water efficiency in your business

In order to meet the targets set by the Environment Act, businesses must start preparing for the future now. There are a few changes you can make to behaviours and processes that’ll help reduce your water footprint, which helps you save money on your water bills too. Your water retailer can offer further assistance, and if that’s us, we offer support with water saving strategies to our customers. We’ve also provided some recommendations to get you started.

First steps
Start by setting a target that’s achievable for your business, with 9% as your base level.  For benchmarking purposes it helps to know your current water footprint on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis too.

Simple checks
If you’re not familiar with your business’ average water consumption, you could have existing issues that have flown under the radar, so carrying out regular checks is important.  Do a Leak and Flow test on your meter, check for leaky taps and loos, and see if your urinals are flushing constantly. Small checks and adjustments like these shown in our recent blog and infographic, will help reduce wastage.

According to smart meter data, around a quarter of all non-household flow is continuous, which means water is flowing through the meter constantly. This usually indicates a leak, if there’s no explanation for this activity. Your bills are another good indicator of leakage, if they go up, it’s always worth checking your premises for leaks.

Data collection
More data means more awareness, so taking monthly reads or investing in automatic meter reading technology will mean more accurate bills and help you keep track of consumption. You’ll also be more likely to spot and fix issues quickly.

Take action
If you’re one of our larger customers, you’ll receive High Consumption Alerts from us that notify you if your consumption has increased. Whether alerts like these come from Wave or your own retailer, make sure you don’t ignore them as they can save a lot of water and money.

Now is the time to act so we can protect our future. Your water retailer is here to help, so make the most of the advice and services available to help make your business more water efficient and help you identify where savings can be made, so get in touch with us to get started.