Summer is in full swing, temperatures are reaching record-breaking highs and more hot days are on their way. For some this means barbecues, countryside walks and picnics, but for the water industry it means more demand for water supply and parts of the UK risk being in drought.
During the hot weather, the amount of water used drastically increases, particularly at peak times of the day. This puts a lot of pressure on water companies to supply enough water to meet demand. If everyone draws on the water supply at the same time it could lead to lower pressure, a weak flow of tap water and even potential water restrictions in some regions of England. With more dry periods forecast, there's not a drop to waste. It’s important to keep the water supply flowing freely from our taps so we can stay healthy and hydrated and businesses can continue to run as usual.
Wholesalers up and down the country are working hard to maintain our water networks. Some have already introduced Temporary Use Bans and are starting to implement Level 1 of their drought management plan so it’s crucial businesses also save water and reduce wastage wherever possible. Non-household customers account for c.30% of all water use, so if every business works to drive down their water consumption, it’ll help make sure there’s enough to go round and prevent further restrictions like Non-Essential Use Bans.
What can my business do to help water levels?
It's important to stay up to date with the restrictions in your area, so we've created an FAQ with information and links about the temporary use bans. But even if you're not in an area with a water shortage, small changes can make a big difference so here are just some of the things you can do to help:
- Reduce how much water your business is using. Anywhere you can cut down your water usage will help. We're not asking you to change your operations, but are there any processes that could use less water?
- Leave your commercial vehicles dirty. Hosepipes use 1,000 litres of water an hour, so why not leave them dirty and only clean the essential parts like the windscreen, lights and number plates.
- Address any leaks straight away. Not only will it save your business money, but the UK wastes over 3 billion litres of water every day, just through leaks. That’s the same as 20 million people’s water use on an average day. There’s simple things you can do yourself to check for leaks if you’ve noticed any increase in your water usage.
- Stop or reduce heavy water use during peak times. 7am-11am and 4pm-11pm are when water is used the most by both non-household and household customers.
- Stop irrigation during the midday heat. Wherever possible, carry out irrigation at cooler times of the day when demand isn’t as high.
- Check for leaks on toilets, taps and urinals. Even a small steady drip can waste 200-400 litres a day – that’s as much as a family of four’s total daily use! It might be worth upgrading your equipment, as older fittings can waste water.
- Stop urinals from flushing overnight. Uncontrolled urinals can flush three times an hour, even when no one is in the building, wasting thousands of litres of water a day. For a nine-litre cistern, this could cost a business more than £700 per year, per cistern.
- Put your contingency plan into play. If your business has on-site storage tanks or alternative water supplies (boreholes etc), can you use these to reduce your usage in peak times during dry periods?
- Educate your staff about saving water. They might not be thinking about water efficiency at work, so it’s worth raising awareness about how to save water and report leaks wherever possible.
- Take regular meter readings. Submitting your water meter reads will help keep track of your water usage and help you spot any unusual consumption.