Agency urges businesses to save water

5th April 2012

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The Environment Agency has called on organisations to ramp up their water-efficiency efforts, as hosepipe bans covering much of south east England come into effect

The agency advises all firms to carry out water audits and to contact their utilities company for help on how to cut the amount of water they are using.

“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,” said Trevor Bishop, the agency’s head of water resources.

As well as ensuring there is enough water to produce food, products and services, being more water efficient makes business sense and could help firms make substantial cost savings, stated Bishop.

According to recent research from the agency being water efficient could save firms in the retail and hospitality sectors up to 50% on water bills.

Businesses are urged to consider rainwater harvesting; wastewater recycling; ensuring plumbing is maintained and having cars and windows cleaned less often.

Nicci Russell, policy director at Waterwise, said: “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 – reusing water is one example.”

The Environment Agency’s rally call comes as seven water companies operating throughout the south east of England and East Anglia introduce hosepipe bans that will affect 20 million consumers. The bans follow two years of below average rainfall which has seen much of southern and eastern England succumb to drought.

With pressures on access to water growing both nationally and globally, companies are increasingly being urged to consider their water footprint. On 28 March, the WWF in partnership with financing group DEG launched an online tool to help companies to understand the risks posed to their organisation and supply chain by ready access to water.

Bruno Wenn, chairman of DEG, confirmed: “Water availability is the most underestimated critical issue for the companies we are financing.”

The Water Risk Filter holds information on water availability in 235 countries and uses data from the firm to assess its water risk and provide advice on how to mitigate threats.


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