Water

Why Should My Business Be Water Efficient?

Water efficiency has many benefits.

The average business wastes a significant amount of resources and money on their water each year; 30% of UK businesses use more water than necessary.

Everyone wants to save money that they can reinvest into their business and taking better control of your business could save you money. If you are on a meter for your water this is particularly true.

Reducing your water consumption will also help reduce your waste and effluent volumes. This means more savings, and also means that you will become more sustainable.

Water efficiency is important because it will reduce your carbon footprint and establish your business as one which advocates for greater social responsibility. This can do a great deal for improving your reputation, and for the planet.

How can I make my business more water-efficient and reduce consumption?

Ultimately you are aiming to limit and reduce your usage as much as possible, when trying to improve your efficiency.

These are some methods that will help you to increase your efficiency; they are very simple:

Fully Close TapsA leaking tap can waste 60 litres of water in a week Swapping to spray taps can also help significantly reduce consumption
Swapping out old appliances for ones with water efficient settingsThis will improve your water consumption by reducing the amount of water your appliances take up It is a good idea to also encourage your staff to be mindful of their consumption and use appliances in an efficient way, if you cannot afford replacements. Efficient usage might include only boiling the kettle with the amount of water you actually need in it.
Water saving devices in toiletsIn some cases, these reduce water consumption up to 50% Urinals are a culprit of water inefficiency so if you can afford to consider upgrading to a waterless alternative. Cistern reduction devices are a low-cost option, and they can save up to 3 litres of water when you flush the toilet.

Pay attention to your meter so that you can see when usage is most high and detect whether there’s a possible leak in your assets.   

How can a supplier help to improve my water efficiency?

A supplier has a duty to help you if you enquire about how you can improve your water efficiency.

Your supplier may offer a water efficiency audit. A water efficiency audit checks for inefficiencies in your water use and also looks for potential improvements to help you save water and money.

Enquire with your supplier about smart meters – they can be a real money saver. Smart meters keep a constant display of your usage, and they also automatically update the supplier of your usage. This means that the pair of you both have an improved understanding of your consumption. This can help you make more informed choices with your usage, and it also means that what you get charged on your water bill is only for the water you really use.

In some cases your supplier may offer your business a tailored programme to assist you in controlling water usage – it is worth enquiring to your contact point about this as it can really support some businesses.

Check your supplier’s social media too – some suppliers share advice, latest updates in water efficiency, helpful devices, and recycling tools on these sorts of platforms. All this advice and techniques can help you save little bits of money, and water, wherever you can.

How can I detect a leak?

You can check for a leak yourself by carrying out a meter check, it is best to do this during a quiet period. A quiet period is a period of time where your water usage is usually very low so you can spot an unusual spike in usage indicating a leak. It is easiest if you have a smart meter for this procedure.

A stop tap test can make the likelihood of a leak much clearer. This is how you carry one out:

  1. First, check that your internal stop tap is working – you will need to repair it if it is not closing fully. 
  2. During a time when there is zero water consumption on your premises, observe the water meter for any movement, and take a reading. Zero movement on your meter should indicate that there is no leak, but if there’s movement, then this indicates there may be a leak. 
  3. Turn off the internal stop tap and check if the meter is moving again – if it is, then there is a leak between your meter and the internal stop tap. If stationary, then there may be a leak beyond the stop tap but within the premises.

Now that you have potentially identified a leak yourself, and if you think that there is a leak, it is important you contact a plumber to assess any potential damage

Alternative Water Sources

What is an alternative water source?

An alternative water source is a sustainable source of water and it works to help offset the demand for freshwater.

What are the benefits of using alternative water sources?

Using alternative water sources are invaluable and can help your business to:

  • Save money,
  • Guarantee the quality and quantity of your supply even when standard service is disrupted,
  • Reduce your environmental impact,
  • Help offset the demand for freshwater,

It makes it all seem worth it, really!

What are my options for sourcing alternative water?

Rainwater collected from your roof or other surfaces, diverted, and deposited in a tank for later use is known as harvested rainwater. Rainwater that has been collected is likely to be polluted by toxins in the atmosphere, but it can be processed to make it drinkable. To meet safety requirements, treatment would have to be thorough. Most companies will be able to instal rainwater harvesting and treatment systems, but a permit will often be required to ensure that structures are not obtrusive. 

Water that has been discharged, cleaned, and reused is referred to as reclaimed wastewater. Non-potable regulations are often applied to reclaimed wastewater. To promote sustainability, the water will be treated by a government agency that will sell it at a lower cost than regular water. Reclaimed wastewater can be treated to potable requirements, but this would necessitate further treatment to eliminate pollutants. For water providers, this can be costly.

Greywater is non-potable wastewater from drains, showers, and washing machines that can be reused for things like flushing toilets and irrigating lawns. Water will need to be filtered and lightly handled before being reused in your house, so it will need to be retrofitted with appropriate plumbing. A filter may be used to eliminate solids, although more advanced treatment options may include UV treatment and disinfection. Greywater reuse not only helps to minimise the need for freshwater but also helps to reduce the need for water treatment at facilities.

Boreholes are deep, narrow wells that extract natural underground water. Borehole water is at low risk of pollution and of higher potability than other alternative sources, but may still require filtration. Boreholes are a perfect, cost-effective choice for companies that have the infrastructure to build a pump.

What do I need to consider before implementing alternative water projects?

Unfortunately, alternative water sources aren’t always a feasible choice for all.

To be able to rely on alternative water schemes, your business site will require sufficient resources and rainfall. Your anticipated alternative resource supply should be equal to your water requirements.

Consider the risk of your water supply being disrupted – if your company is located in an environment where service is likely to be disrupted, it might be a smart idea to invest in alternative water sources and facilities that can continue to function in an emergency to reduce the impact on your business.

You’ll need to correctly predict your business’s demand when choosing a device so that you can choose equipment that’s the right size to capture and store your water.

When choosing equipment, consider the water quality you’ll need. Alternative water can be sourced and processed to be potable or non-potable, so it’s important to fit it to your company’s needs.

Some water systems require a permit in order to be installed so planning early will help you to begin using alternative sources as soon as possible. 

How much does it cost to install alternative water systems?

The cost of installing an alternative water system is determined by the system and the size and potability requirements of your company.

For a small company, rainwater harvesting systems may cost between £3,000 and £5,000 in equipment alone. For 1,000 litres, a basic water butt connected to a drainage system (but not to your pipes) would cost about £300.

Sophisticated harvesting equipment will set you back between £2,500 and £4,000. A 5,000-litre tank would cost about £15,000 to purchase and build for a larger company.

For a small company, greywater systems cost between £4,000 and £8,000 to purchase and build. Furthermore, a professional can charge about £150 per year to clean the system’s membrane filters, which help to keep the water clear.

Installing and connecting a regular 60-meter borehole costs between £6,000 and £10,000. Annual operating costs range from £50 to £600, depending on use, and water treatment for potability costs an additional £1,500 to £3,000 each year.

How much could I save by using alternative water sources?

The amount you will save will be determined by your business’s needs and the framework you have in place.  When calculating how much money can be saved, bear in mind the expense of installing these systems.

Rainwater harvesting could save your company between 35 and 55 percent on its annual water bill.

Suppliers also sell reclaimed wastewater at a lower cost than normal wastewater. Reclaimed water can be up to 40% less expensive than regular water in some situations.

Greywater recycling will reduce your water use by up to 40%, which means you’ll save money on your bills as well.

Boreholes will greatly reduce the costs because you will be supplying your own water, while construction can be costly for some companies. Some agricultural businesses say that they can recoup their investment in less than a year.  Borehole water could cost a tenth of what you’d pay for water from a traditional supplier per cubic metre.

Who is my Water Company?

Have you ever found yourself wondering where your water comes from? Well, look no further.

Water suppliers cover a range of cities across the UK and so perhaps if you are moving to a new area, or if you are just intrigued, knowing who your water supplier can be useful information.

Spanning England and Wales, the below guide breaks the country into the following regions:

  1. Northern
  2. Wales
  3. Central and Eastern
  4. London and South East
  5. Western

These regions cover, seemingly self-explanatory, areas in the north of England, Wales, central and eastern England, London and surrounding cities, and the west of England, respectively.

Anglian Water

Anglian Water’s region spans from the Humber estuary to the Thames estuary, and across the east coast. They are mostly responsible for pipes and sewers in the areas they cover.

Northern EnglandHartlepool
Central and EasternScunthorpe Grimsby Lincoln Gainsborough Skegness Peterborough Kettering Northampton Buckingham King’s Lynn Ely Thetford Haverhill Braintree Ipswich Norwich Grantham

Northumbrian Water

Northumbrian Water supplies 2.7 million people in the North East, specifically, of England. Their largest supply areas are in Tyneside, Wearside and Teesside, though supply some areas in Northumberland and Country Durham

Northern EnglandBerwick-upon-Tweed Alnwick Morpeth Newcastle upon Tyne Darlington  

Severn Trent Water         

Severn Trent’s supply area stretches across the centre of the UK, from Bristol, the mid-Wales, to the East Midlands.

Northern EnglandManchester Crewe Chester Liverpool Burnley Blackpool Lancaster Preston  
Central and EasternLudlow Oswestry Gloucester Evesham Warwick Rugby Birmingham Leicester Derby Mansfield Worksop Buxton Stoke-on-Trent Stafford Wolverhampton  

Yorkshire Water

Yorkshire Water services West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, East Riding of Yorkshire, part of North Lincolnshire, most of North Yorkshire and some parts of Derbyshire.

Northern EnglandLeeds York Doncaster Sheffield Kingston upon Hull Bridlington Scarborough Whitby Thirsk

United Utilities

United Utilities covers the water network in the northwest of England – this area primarily includes Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, Chesire and a small area of Derbyshire,

Northern EnglandCarlisle Brough Kendal Workington

Dwr Cymru Welsh Water (DWR)

DWR supplies almost 3 million people across Wales, Herefordshire and parts of Deeside.

WalesLlandudno Porthmadog Barmouth BalaAberystwyth Cardigan Haverfordwest Tenby Swansea Carmarthen Cardiff Cwmbran Monmouth Brecon Builth Wells
Central and EasternHereford

Hafren Dyfrdwy

Hafren Dyfrdwy region stretches right across the heart of Wales.

Wales  Welshpool Llanidloes

South Staffordshire Water

South Staffordshire Water was initially formed to only supply the inhabitants of the Black Country. Nowadays their region includes Walsall, Sandwell, Dudley, Tamworth, Uttoxeter, Burton, Lichfield, Sutton Coldfield, and Cannock.

Central and EasternCannock Uttoxeter Tamworth

Essex and Sussex Water

Essex and Sussex Water’s region includes the southeast of Norfolk, east Suffolk, Essex and the London Boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Havering, and Redbridge in Greater London.

Central and EasternAldeburgh Dagenham Southend-on-Sea Chelmsford 

Cambridge Water

Cambridge Water supplies Cambridge and some of the surrounding towns.

Central and EasternCambridge 

Affinity Water

Affinity Water supply parts of Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Surrey, the London Boroughs of Harrow and Hillingdon and parts of the London Boroughs of Barnet, Brent, Ealing and Enfield. They also supply water to the Tendring peninsula in Essex and the Folkestone and Dover areas of Kent.

Central and EasternHarwich 
London and South EastFolkestone St Albans Luton Stevenage Stansted Harlow Royston Ascot

Portsmouth Water

Portsmouth Water covers a region which stretches across Hampshire and West Sussex.

London and South EastGosport

South East Water

South East Water covers a region which spans Kent, Susses, Surry, Berkshire, and Hampshire.

London and South EastBasingstoke Petersfield Bracknell Tonbridge Maidstone Ashford

Southern Water Services

Southern Water Services covers the area covering parts of Dorset, Hampshire, and Wiltshire.

London and South EastSheemess Chatham Margate Hastings Littlehampton And over Southampton

SES Water

SES Water company supplies the areas across east Surrey, west Sussex, west Kent, and south London.

London and South EastOxted Dorking Croydon

Thames Water

Thames Water covers areas across Gloucestershire, areas in Kent and some of the eats of Essex. They share borders with a lot of other suppliers due to being so central and so it is best to double check your supplier area.

London and South EastOxford Aylesbury High Wycombe Reading Newbury Swindon Cirencester Moreton-in-Marsh Bunbury

South West Water

South West water provides services to Devon, Cornwall, small parts of Dorset and Somerset – that’s around 1.6 million people!

WesternOkehampton ExeterTiverton Ilfracombe Lyme RegisBarnstapleBodmin BudePlymouth Truro Newquay

Bristol Water

Bristol Water supplies areas across Bristol, north Somerset, areas of Bath, north-east Somerset and some of south Gloucestershire.

WesternBristol Glastonbury Weston-super-Mare

Wessex Water

Wessex Water serves customers cross the south west area of England. This area includes Dorset, Somerset, Bristol, most of Wiltshire, and also parts of Gloucestershire and Hampshire.

WesternBath Warminster Salisbury Devizes Yeovil Minehead

Bournemouth Water

Bournemouth Water supplies Bournemouth and some of the surrounding smaller towns.

WesternBournemouth

Everything You Need to Know about Changing Water Supplier

Switching your commercial water supplier is an excellent way for businesses to save money on their utilities, by taking advantage of lower tariffs and better energy deals designed to attract you to switch your supplier.

Businesses can reduce their water bills by 5-10% on average in England, and up to 18% in Scotland. These are massive savings for businesses that are spending big on their utilities. Also, switching should take no longer than one month to complete – it is a win-win situation!

This guide will explain to you exactly how you go about changing your water supplier so that you can save more money to spend on your business, rather than your water.

Who Can be Switched to?

Only the following water and wastewater retailers are licensed to supply water to businesses, so the supplier you switch to must be one of:

  1. adsm,
  2. waterscan,
  3. Castle Water,
  4. waterplus,
  5. Source for Business,
  6. business stream,
  7. water 2 business,
  8. Clear business water,
  9. yu water,
  10. Cambrian,
  11. Olympos Water,
  12. everflow water,
  13. the Water Retail company,
  14. Regent Utilities,
  15. Veolia,
  16. ConserAqua,
  17. ses Business Water,
  18. wave,
  19. First Business Water, and
  20. Smarta water.

Who Can Switch?

Those eligible to switching their water supplier must be non-household customers, this can include:

  1. businesses,
  2. charities, and
  3. public sector organisations.

Generally, if you are supplying the water to a business premise then you are free to choose your water supplier, following the recent deregulation of the commercial water market in April 2017.

Your water retailer is responsible for ensuring that your eligibility is fully assessed; however, the following precursor checks can be carried out by yourself (if you are unsure):

Information on EligibilityOfwat’s full eligibility guidance sheet
Additional Qualifiers for EligibilityOfwat’s supplementary eligibility guide
Combined Eligibility Checker*Open Water’s survey

*not a definitive answer, discretion will always remain with Ofwat’s stipulations.

What You Should Know

There are five main steps you should carry out before you swap your water supplier:

Understand your water use   
Understand your current deal   
Shopping around   
Agreeing a deal   
Make a choice   

Let us take a little closer look at these.

Understand Your Water Use

Keeping accurate records is always useful in business management and maintenance. Specifically for this situation, knowing your exact usage will help you know much water you use, how much you pay for the water you use, and exactly how you pay for your water.

It is a good idea to consult your most recent water bill and make a note of:

  1. your annual water use,
  2. your current payment method,
  3. current bills and charges,
  4. service supply point identification number, or numbers (SPID)

Understand your Current Deal

Being aware of the terms to which your contract holds you to is also important to helping you get a better deal.

You can switch your wastewater removal service provider, your water supply provider, or  both of those services. You may only want to switch one but may be in one contract for both. This is why it is important to understand your current deal so you know exactly what you can change, and when.

Before shopping around, understanding your current deal and comparing it to other similar tariffs can lead to you asking your current supplier whether your current deal can be improved. Before switching, the more information you can gather about your current deal, the better.

IMPORTANT TO KNOW: If you are currently on a default tariff, sometimes also known as a deemed tariff, your retailer must tell you about any available contracts which may benefit your more than your current. Understanding your current deal will help you know whether you are entitled to this.

Shopping Around

Even if you are currently being offered a good deal, or perhaps if you are not even planning to switch, it is always a good idea to regularly refresh your impression of what the water market looks like. It will never hurt to know what options may be available to you and maintaining a strong idea about what other suppliers are offering will help you remain analytical of your own spending.

There are a few ways you can ‘shop the market’ – obviously all online. You may find it useful to:

  1. visit retailers’ websites,
  2. check on comparison websites,
  3. contact utility brokers for advice and guidance.

All of these will help provide you with a better grasp of the water market, water suppliers, and how you might benefit from them.

Agreeing a Deal

So, you have chosen a retailer you think is the best option for you. Next, you must get in contact with the retailer to see exactly what they can offer you (if you are working with a water broker they will likely do this step for you).

You should also talk to your current provider about potentially terminating your contract, and they may as a result offer you a better deal to also consider.

Any retailer you speak with about potentially switching to should:

  1. check and confirm whether you are eligible for switching your supplier (see above),
  2. answer any questions you have,
  3. provide you with information about the contract, their company, and your deals.

In this regard, switching with the help of a utility broker can be really useful as this admin is confidently and efficiently carried about by them.

Make your Choice

You like the look of the new supplier(s)’s deals and so you decide to switch.

After you request to switch suppliers, there are 7 days while the request is processed within which you are free to change your mind and back out of the contract. This is known as the cooling off period and helps protect customers from entering fraudulent contracts.

IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER: within the cooling off period you can stop the switching process at any time, you do not have to give a reason.

After the process has successfully gone through, you will be informed and the following will happen:

  1. your current retailer will issue a final bill, charging you for any unpaid bills or charges,
  2. you next water bill will be issued by your new supplier in preparation for your new usage.

And there you have it – you have successfully switched your water supplier!

Water – Who Can Switch?

Switching your water supplier can be overwhelming and daunting; but it should not be!

Switching water suppliers has helped thousands of businesses slash their outgoing costs considerably. Since the deregulation of the water industry in 2017, the commercial water market is one that should be taken advantage of.

There are prices lower than ever which YOU can take advantage of to cut costs and put your business first; Energy Solutions can help you.

Energy Solutions works on your behalf to compare the most beneficial deals for your water usage.

Below are some examples from a variety of companies who have benefitted from switching their water supplier – if you are not convinced by the benefits of switching yet, you will be after reading these case studies!

A Scottish Football Team

Savings on Business Water£6,400
Time Period Saved In12 Months

A popular Scottish football team scored a healthy saving of over £6,000 in only one year, after switching their energy supplier. These savings can now be powered back into the club and redirect their spending into the vital community work they do, rather than unnecessarily wasting money on utilities.

The chief operating officer was incredibly surprised by the savings – “we anticipated some financial gain but did not imagine something this size for one minute”. The reaction from the COO proves just how few businesses know to take advantage of the water market in order to earn themselves impressive savings.

The football team wanted to reduce their water consumption, as well as their payments. Switching your supplier is a great way to stay on top of the greenest deals and limit your business’ environmental impact as much as possible!

Working with Energy Solutions will allow you, too, to become more efficient and sustainable.

The key benefit for the football team was the use of a smart meter, and they’re becoming more and more popular. Managing your consumption is difficult – especially on such a large scale as a football stadium. Smart meters eradicate that additional stress and allow your usage to be regularly monitored, without giving you another headache.

Smart meter technology noticed irregularities in the teams’ consumption, meaning that solutions could be specifically tailored to the needs of the team. This efficiency is beneficial to all involved (contractors, the club, the supplier, affected staff) and allowed for such a large saving in such a short space of time.

Good water management and awareness make initiating action plans and usage reviews so much easier. It also creates an opportunity for savings, based on true water usage.

Switching is very easy, and Energy Solutions will ensure you receive a competitive and responsive service.

Water is essential to many businesses like this Scottish football team, and we can make sure you don’t pay too much for it.

An English University

Savings on Business Water£25,500
Time Period Saved In12 Months

A university in the south of England saved ¼ £100,000 on their water bill after switching their supplier.

This English university, one of the largest across the UK, has a community of almost 40,000 people (staff, pupils, employees). Obviously, their water bills were high. This university was keen to take advantage of the deregulated market which allows them to swap suppliers, and increase their savings.

Swapping has never been easier. With the new Crown Commercial Service (CCS) framework, public sector customers in England can switch suppliers, securing their retail costs for 2–3-year long contracts.

Switching through these frameworks is something Energy Solutions can facilitate. Benefit from competitive water rates, and experienced advisors to get the most out of your water prices.

Glasgow City Council

Savings on Business Water£54,000
Time Period Saved In12 Months

As the largest local authority in Scotland, Glasgow City Council employs just under 19,000 people. City Councils are responsible for providing essential education and welfare services and facilities to the city and its residents.

Council budgets are not large, unfortunately. They must cover the costs for:

  • schools,
  • roads,
  • libraries,
  • parks,
  • public facilities and general buildings,
  • and more.

These all require water and wastewater services – this is an expense that already stretched councils cannot afford to be inefficient with!

Acting with the best interests of resident’s in mind, Glasgow City Council switched their water supply in 2020, searching for a way to reduce their annual costs. Smart meters were installed across all council property, known as Automatic Meter Readers (AMRs). AMRs identify real patterns in water usage, note irregularities (such as unusually high consumption), and improve management of water supply.

AMRs allowed the supplier to notify unusually high consumption at two primary schools. Smart meters are a feature which not all suppliers can offer; if you are not currently using one, it is worth being on the lookout to switch to a supplier who can provide you with one.

These two primary schools’ high consumption was studied closely. The conclusion was drawn that a combination of factors was causing the spike in usage (meaning a number of different solutions were necessary).

An inspection was undertaken by the supplier’s maintenance team. The conclusion was confirmed:

  • issues with leaks,
  • issues with water efficiency, and
  • issues with cold water tanks,

resulted in a combination of internal plumbing issues, costing the council thousands in unnecessary bills. Identifying these issues would also help the council improve its water efficiency, striving into a greener future for its local authority.

By switching, the council had access to this equipment which identified the specific issues at fault. A contractor was sent out and fixed the pinpointed issues, reducing inefficiency and bill prices for the council.

Shell Bay Restaurant

Savings on Business Water£6,000
Time Period Saved In12 Months

Shell Bay Restaurant, located near Dorset, is a family-run restaurant that sells seafood. Open seasonally, the restaurant is only running for 7 months a year. To cover the costs when shut, a marine services, moorings, and charter business is run by one of the owners from the same premises throughout the year.

You may not know this, but Shell Bay is a highly remote location – 2 ½ miles from the nearest village. Restaurants tend to use a lot of water, and the site has an extensive water supply network.

There was one singular, 2 ½ mile pipeline, installed several decades ago, which the owner of Shell Bay Restaurant was responsible for. This pipeline also supplied a number of other businesses in the peninsula. Some of these businesses included:

  • a toll booth,
  • ferry offices,
  • Nation Trust toilets, and
  • a local farm.

The owner of the restaurant could see this may become a future issue, impacting the restaurant’s total water usage. Thus, the owner turned to his supplier for advice on his situation. Failing assistance, the owner switched his supplier to one who promised to help improve the site’s efficiency.

The owner’s new supplier was able to send out an inspection team to assess the restaurant’s water use. Due to escalating costs, the owner was concerned. After helping to map out the water network across the site, the inspection team identified a singular, yet significant leak. This leak was greatly impacting the site’s water efficiency and drastically increasing usage.

Luckily, the leak was quickly fixed. Not only this but isolation valves were contracted to be fitted, making any future leak detections far easier to spot.

AMRs were recommended, again. AMRs logged average flow and usage, allowing continuous monitoring of the site’s consumption. Any unusually high recordings were alerted to the owner. Recognising abnormal consumption early means that any potential issues can be quickly investigated, identified, and fixed.

Shell Bay Restaurant reduced its usage by 80%! All of that would not have been possible if the owner had not swapped their supplier. All of the security measures put in place were highly beneficial; two further leaks have been identified and fixed since.

As is evident, a range of different business customers would, and have, benefitted from switching their water supplier. The reasons for switching can range from expensive prices, to inefficient services, to a lack of capability to meet your business’ individual needs and requirements.

Switching your water supplier alone, though, can be intimidating. Many suppliers will try and catch you out with cheap initial costs which then increase after a while. Brokers like Energy Solutions can help provide you with impartial, expert advice and recommendation. These recommendations will be based on an accurate, detailed understanding of your business’ circumstances, making the switching process as accurate, helpful, and efficient as is possible.