Scottish businesses are literally throwing money down the drain
Scottish businesses are wasting thousands of pounds a year on unnecessary water costs by failing to identify and address leaks within the boundary of their property.
That’s according to figures from Anglian Water Business (AWB), which recently joined forces with Northumbrian Water Group (NWG) to become Wave.
They come as AWB announces savings of £1.56m for the public sector to date (since 1 March 2016), through its delivery of water billing and efficiency services. The firm claims this is equivalent to a water saving equal to 250 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Since the 1 March 2016, AWB has operated the contract to provide water billing and efficiency services to Scotland’s public sector, including over 15,000 sites ranging from schools and colleges, to hospitals and council buildings.
This saving follows the company’s audit of ‘unexplained’ water usage for all of its customers across the whole of the UK, which amounts to 643,000m3 of water per year.
According to AWB, a leak of one cubic metre per hour could cost £70 each day or £25,715 over the course of a year. The retailer is urging companies of all sizes to address the hidden environmental menace of water leakage, reduce their operational costs and protect their assets from leakage-related damage by checking for leaks and taking steps to eradicate them.
Lucy Darch, CEO of Wave, said: “We are delighted with the savings we have made for Scotland’s public sector to date, especially at a time of constrained budgets and we look forward to continue working with it to drive down costs even further.
“Water leaks often go undetected for months, as they are invisible above ground, but the costs can be considerable. At a time when many companies are working hard to reduce their overheads and maximise profitability, these are unnecessary costs that need to be addressed.”
While water companies are responsible for the public supply network, businesses are responsible for resolving any leaks within the boundaries of their own properties. The cost of overlooking leaks or failing to address them can be considerable, not only in terms of escalating water bills but also in terms of collateral damage to both business premises and operational efficiency.
Darch added: “Not only does a leak on the system increase consumption and therefore bills, it can also reduce water pressure, which can impact on productivity and health and safety for a diverse range of sectors, including farming, manufacturing and processing. It can also lead to flooding or damage to buildings, so postponing repairs to a leaking pipe can create considerable additional costs in repairs, maintenance and business interruption too.
“And, for businesses that treat and pump water on site, loss of water pressure can also result in increased energy consumption, leading to even greater financial and environmental costs.”
AWB says the good news is that companies do seem to understand the importance of identifying and repairing leaks. In a recent survey by Wave, 49 per cent of respondents named leaks as the biggest threat to water efficiency within their business, with 38 per cent also naming company culture and a lack of awareness about the need to value water as a threat.
Six per cent of respondents pinpointed a ‘lack of advice’ from their water retailer as a contributory factor in water inefficiency, and this is an area that Wave is keen to address.
Darch said: “Our aim is to support environmental best practice and help our customers achieve sustainable cost savings by providing services that enable then to identify leaks quickly and tackle them cost effectively.”