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Envirowise: Water top tips

05 November 2007

This list gives some simple actions which can minimise the amount of water you use in your business.

Don't think of water use and disposal charges as fixed costs. Many companies can save up to 50% of their water costs through implementing simple and inexpensive water minimisation measures.

Make sure that your accounts team can read a water bill to ensure that the amount is checked and recorded.

Ensure pipes are well insulated to protect against frost damage.

Keep water-using equipment well maintained and check it periodically for leaks.

Look out for leaking taps. A dripping tap can waste 26 litres of water a day.

Check your toilet cisterns. A cistern installed before 2001 typically uses up to 7.5 litres per flush (9.5 litres before1993). Low-flush cisterns can use 6 litres or less and dual flush cisterns can go as low as 6 litres/4 litres giving a theoretical 4.5 litre average. If you have an older cistern you can reduce the flush volume with a brick, hippo or submerged plastic water bottle.

Do you defrost food under a running tap? Investigate a two-sink system for rinsing and defrost at room temperature or in a fridge.

A running tap used to wash food can use as much as 20 litres per minute. Why not fill up a sink to wash vegetables?

Something as seemingly harmless as a hose left running to drain all day can cost up to £46,500 annually.

Consider alternative water sources, eg rainwater use.

When purchasing new equipment, take its water efficiency into account. It may be more expensive to buy water efficient equipment, but it may have a short payback period due to the water savings achieved.

Investigate fitting water minimising controls such as push taps, flow regulator/restrictors, spray nozzles on hoses, low flush toilets and sensor urinal flushing controls.

Appoint a water monitor within your organisation to undertake periodic site walk-overs to identify water minimisation opportunities.

Always measure and monitor the amount of water you use. Compare water use each year. Get in the habit of taking weekly meter readings and record the data in a spreadsheet. Regular monitoring will help you identify any increases in water usage which could indicate a leak or overflow.

Make sure staff are fully aware of the importance of water minimisation and encourage them to make suggestions and to report leaks quickly.

Ensure leaks are repaired quickly.

Ask your customers and guests to make suggestions and let them know about the measures that you are introducing.

Copy supplied by Envirowise

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