Reducing risks around water supplies for your business – so an interruption in the flow doesn’t make you have to stop or close

By Barry McGovaney, Innovation & Technology Manager


We’ve all had to deal with and adapt to how we work and the risks we face, including an unexpected virus in the form of Covid-19. When it comes to water supply there are some risks we can identify and put plans in place for - such as no water - and you can take action on this risk, ahead of time, to prevent it stopping your business in its tracks. It’s the lifeblood of your site and more important than ever to keep clean water flowing through your pipes efficiently and quickly.

Whether it’s for handwashing, washing customers’ hair at a salon, or involved in production and processes, it’s important to be aware of the threat a sudden stop in water can have on how you work, what you make, or the service you provide.

Water interruptions and issues cost businesses and disrupt sites

Even though we all know it’s important, water can be low on risk lists - but we’ve seen the impact it can have when it’s not flowing - and this year businesses have already had disruption from interruptions and leaks on site.

In September, a burst main on a wholesaler network impacted businesses while repairs were carried out and supplies restored.

Also, a packaging company had two leaks on site and needed new pipe layed earlier this year. The leaks, which were spotted by the Automatic Meter Reader (AMR) data loggers, attached to water meters at the location, had affected a major access road to the site, which had started to sink, impacting their operation. A leak on site can also be the most likely cause of a supply interruption at a business.

Despite the clear risk of water interruptions on-site, it appears preparedness varies. A YouGov study we commissioned to help organisations, took in the views of 1,000 UK businesses and found that just one in 10 (11 per cent) small and medium-sized businesses has a plan in place to mitigate problems with their water supply. By comparison, a third (34 per cent) of firms with more than 250 employees did.*

Have a plan and get closer to your water use data

Should your site have a leak and – in extreme cases – suffer an interruption to its water supply, it’s crucial to have a site-specific plan in place to ensure day-to-day operations aren’t adversely affected.

Any contingency plan should include details on how much water you will need and provision for ensuring that sourcing replacement water is as quick as possible. We can help multi-site organisations and those with complex water needs with contingency plans for sites and how best to get emergency water supplies into your water network safely and efficiently, as it’s sadly not always as simple as just ordering a tanker to make a delivery. Find out more about our Advanced Services here or contact the team at advancedservices@water-plus.co.uk  

For smaller and medium-sized organisations, there’s more information on what to include in a water emergency plan here.

Look at options for early warning

Monitoring devices, from data loggers to leak detection systems, and regularly checking water meter readings are effective methods for tracking everyday usage and will help develop an understanding of the health of your infrastructure. Looking at your water meter to see your water use at least each month, if not more often, is important to spot issues and act quickly.

Larger sites, which will often have multiple water meters, can be particularly well-served by keeping a close eye on their usage data and AMR data loggers can also help give greater detail on where issues and opportunities are.

Looking at water usage closer, will also means that any unexpected surges in consumption, which can indicate a pipe leak, can be spotted and if necessary, a repair organised promptly.

As we know data is an important tool for businesses – and as part of enhancements to our online customer portals - we’ve recently updated how information on water use is displayed on the AMR portal, giving greater detail and data analysis - making it even easier to use and saving time for organisations. The portal alerts customers to issues so these can, if caught early, avoid any potential closures of your operation. 

We have also developed a unique flood alert tool for businesses which allows customers to have their sites mapped by geolocation, so they can receive alerts and more information of flooding risks. The tool also includes weather warnings as well – handy for the more unsettled and colder months of the year – which can be tailored for your business. You can find out more about this here.

Understanding the risks to your business around supply interruption, leaks and adverse weather is key. Once this is known, plans can be put in place to lower and control the impacts of these risks and keep your operation going.

 

* To gather the data in this report, Water Plus surveyed a representative sample of 1,000 businesses, including 601 SMEs. The research was conducted by market research and data analytics firm, YouGov, in Q3 2019.

 

 

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