On the 25th of July the UK saw the hottest temperature on record.
With the trend of increasing temperatures, Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency announced the UK risks running out of water within 25 years. He puts this down to wasteful consumer habits and a shortage of reservoirs.
“We won’t have long term water security unless all of us change our behaviour” Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency.
The water industry collects, treats and supplies more than 16 billion litres of water every day for domestic and commercial customers in the UK. The Environment Agency estimates per capita consumption to be around 150 litres per day. Sir James calculates each person needs 100 litres of water a day, which is 50 litres less than we currently use. There are various obvious ways that water usage can be reduced, it might simply be a case of raising awareness. These five tips will help your organisation reduce your water usage and ultimately help protect our long-term water supply.
Five tips to reduce water wastage, in the workplace
- Monitor Use. As with all utilities, the best starting point is to monitor, track and analyse usage. Track water consumption as well as wastage, collate and compile your meter readings into a monthly report. This way you can track the numbers, see the impact of interventions you’ve made, and spot any abnormalities such as leaks.
- Recycle. Don’t forget there are many innovative ways to recycle water over and over again. Re-usable water could be grey water or rainwater. For example, Zurich airport channel their waste water including water used in de-icing, to an offsite treatment plant and direct it back to their facilities for reuse. Many companies collect rainwater in tanks on roof tops or make use of gutter systems.
- Embrace Mother Nature. There are several ways to repurpose rainfall and untreated water to displace water from the grid. For example, Adnam’s Brewery distribution centre, often regarded as Britain’s greenest warehouse uses rainwater harvesting for flushing toilets and washing their vehicle fleet. Using rainfall can also reduce your surface water drainage, in turn reducing sewerage costs.
- Reduce demand. No – don’t rip all your taps out. Smart solutions include water-efficient taps with an aerator or flow restrictor. Upgrade to efficient urinals and cisterns that use less water. Seek the most energy and water efficient whitegoods devices and you will use less water and electricity. When possible, switch off heating, cooling and other systems after hours to reduce water consumption.
- Change behaviour. Staff don’t foot the bill, so there can be a lack of awareness and incentive to conserve water. Often the simplest way of reducing utility consumption is to change your business’ attitude. Sir James advises: “we need water wastage to be as socially unacceptable as blowing smoke in the face of a baby or throwing your plastic bags into the sea”. Everything is easier when your teams are involved, so communicate with your staff about water usage and what you’re doing to limit consumption. You can also encourage staff to step up as “Water Champions” and contribute to water saving ideas of their own. This technique is especially effective because they can take this mindset home with them to reduce wastage in their homes.
It is all organisations responsibility for water to feature strongly in their sustainability plans and minimise all forms of waste. Like other sustainable areas if organisations do not take the initiative they’ll eventually be forced to do so by legalisation and public pressure. Follow the 5 steps outlined above to start seeing some real changes in your organisation’s water consumption and your utility spends.
If you want to quickly and dramatically optimise your water use, and reduce unnecessary waste, get in touch with us today.