Nicci Russell, Managing Director of Waterwise, the independent campaigning organisation on water efficiency in the UK, answers a few key questions on why water-saving matters and what businesses and the public sector can look at.
Water can be low on the agenda when it comes to business decisions. But reducing use of it - and finding ways to recycle it - such as rainwater harvesting, are important steps to help protect supplies for the future – as well as reduce costs for businesses.
Using less water can also reduce your carbon footprint, particularly if you’re using a lot of hot water on your sites.
Climate change, an increasing population and the need to protect the environment are all factors that can impact water and water supplies in the future. Despite work taking place across the water-sector, supply interruptions can happen
Organisations can, on average, achieve a 30% reduction in water use through simple measures that can help them reduce their water and energy bills. Taking small steps such as checking water meters regularly to see if there are any increases in water consumption that could indicate a leak at a business or organisation’s site, is just one simple way to ensure business costs don’t increase due to water being wasted.
There has been some progress in recent years with some supermarkets cutting their water use on sites and new water-saving targets in some sectors in the UK but there’s more opportunities – and benefits for businesses – and our communities from saving more water.
On top of this, action is being taken by the water sector as a whole to highlight water efficiency and there’s more advice for businesses out there on how to reduce water use.
Waterwise is an independent campaigning organisation and we’re also working to move water use up the agenda across the UK for businesses and at home too.
There are many technological innovations that can help reduce water use, linked to areas including smart metering, detecting leaks, waterless urinals and also identifying issues around leaky loos or dripping taps.
But a home or building is only as water-efficient as the people you put in it, so we all have a responsibility as individuals to waste less.
Although technology and changes to fittings and fixtures are important, the way we use water is directly influenced through behaviours.
Research has found that often people take very different approaches to their water-using behaviours at work compared with at home.
Positive behaviours that can be encouraged in the workplace include:
There are many ‘low-hanging fruit’ water efficiency options for taps, toilets and showers that along with water-efficient behaviours can help reduce water and energy use as well as carbon emissions. These will also help make businesses and the public sector more resilient to the extremes of weather we face with climate change in the UK.
Waterwise also hoped to see an increase in water efficiency services on offer after changes in the water market in April 2017 in England.
There are some water efficiency services for businesses and the public sector but we’d like to see this area growing and more businesses looking at this and we’re helping to raise awareness about these by partnering with Water Plus.
If you’ve got an innovative idea to help businesses and the public sector reduce costs or save money by using less natural resources then why not enter our competition for a chance to win £5,000. It’s free to enter and is open to start-up companies, universities, inventors and creative thinkers and established product-creators.
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Picture: Nicci Russell, Managing Director of Waterwise.
Picture credit: ShinePix