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Business Must Play it's Part During Drought, Says Environment Agency

05 April 2012

UK - Businesses must join households in helping to conserve water supplies, the Environment Agency said today. The call comes as a hosepipe ban affecting 20 million consumers in the South East and East Anglia comes into force.

The Environment Agency is encouraging all businesses to carry out a water audit of the workplace to establish where these savings can be made, for example by identifying leaks in need of repair.

Other water saving tips for business include:

  • Consider investing in rain harvesting and waste water recycling
  • Ensuring taps are turned off. If you spot a leaking tap, tell building maintenance staff.
  • Have your windows cleaned less often, as long as it doesn't affect health and safety.
  • Clean fleet cars less often. Just keep headlights, mirrors and windows clean for safety reasons.
  • Ask your water company to help identify where you can save water.

Trevor Bishop, Head of Water Resources, said: "Hosepipe bans are an effective way to cut overall water use – but they are not a silver bullet. While households have a very important role to play in helping to cut water use during the current drought, businesses, farmers and water companies must all play their part too, by using water wisely to ensure that the water that we do have goes further.

"Being water efficient makes good business sense, and can help businesses save money. It will also ensure that there is enough water to produce food, products and services, and in the environment for wildlife. We want to help businesses find ways to save and share water and we would urge businesses to contact their water company for help and advice."

Nicci Russell, Waterwise Policy Director, said: "We are already seeing the results of climate change and population growth. More people and less water means the water we do have needs to go further, and every single workplace, regardless of size, is dependent on water. If water stopped coming through the taps our economy wouldn’t function, so we need to start wasting less water now, at work as well as at home. There are simple ways for businesses to waste less water, both in workplace bathrooms and kitchens, as well as in industrial processes – re-using water is one example. Water efficiency is an issue of business continuity and climate resilience. Businesses will also save on their water bills if they use less water. Businesses can find tips on saving water on www.waterwise.org.uk"

Latest Environment Agency figures show that being water efficient could save businesses in retail and hospitality up to 50 per cent on their water bills. In some manufacturing industries, water bills could be costing over one per cent of business turnover – so carrying out a water audit, and identifying areas of waste, could make a significant difference to the bottom line.

This "save water, save money" mantra is being adhered to be some of the country’s biggest companies. At McCain’s Whittlesey factory, waste water recycling equipment has reduced demand for mains water supply by about 250,000 cubic metres or the equivalent of the water use of over 1,300 homes in Britain per year. Lafarge Cement UK also cut the annual energy bill at one of their sites by £14,000 a year thanks to water recirculation.

It is becoming ever more vital for business to adapt and be flexible to manage during a drought. Recent Met Office studies showing that climate change is likely to increase the possibility of extreme droughts in the UK.

TheCropSite News Desk



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