MoD looks to facilities firms to save water

18th January 2013

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Facilities management companies working with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) will be required to cut water consumption at MoD properties from 2014

The MoD has confirmed that firms awarded estate management contracts under new rules coming into force next year will have to ensure water use can be monitored in real time, design and implement water saving initiatives, and report on their successes.

The MoD’s estate includes 49,000 homes, 140 training sites and 260 large military bases, and uses 17.5 billion litres of water each year. The new contract requirements are designed to help the ministry achieve its target to cut water use on its properties by 7% on 2010/11 levels by 2016.

“With several hundred thousand personnel living and working on 1% of British landmass we have an imperative to minimise water usage, particular in regions where water is in short supply,” said Matt Foley, head of utilities at the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO), which oversees the MoD's estate management.

“Industry has a wealth of innovation to offer in this area and it is vital that DIO harnesses that within its future contracting arrangements.”

The next generation estate contracts (NGEC) will require contractors to share successful measures across all MoD sites and to engage personnel on the importance of saving water, according to the ministry.

“We recognise that water consumption is as much about behaviour as infrastructure,” said Mark Grant, head of NGEC contract development. “The strength of our contracting model is that our industry partners will be able to take a strategic view of water consumption, as well as working closely with local users in specific buildings, and DIO can then compare performance and best practice between the contracts.”

The MOD exceeded the cross-government target to reduce water consumption by 25% on 1999/2000 levels by 2010/11, cutting demand by 29%. However, the pace at which it is reducing consumption is falling. Defra published data last year revealing that the defence ministry was one of the worst performing government departments against current water reduction targets.

The MoD achieved a 1% reduction in water use across its estate during 2011/12, ranking it bottom third out of 21 departments.

In 2009/10, it launched an £80,000 spend-to-save water project across five of its sites, installing low-flow taps and more efficient showers in military homes. The projects cut water consumption by 140,000m3 per year, saving the MoD more than £400,000 annually.

This project has since been expanded to another five sites, and the MoD predicts the project will cut £527,000 from its annual water bills.

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