The hidden cost of water waste in business

Water is an essential resource for businesses, yet many overlook just how much it costs them. With rising water prices and increasing pressure to be environmentally sustainable, reducing water wastage should be a priority for every company. This article explores the hidden financial and environmental costs of water waste and how businesses can take steps to use water more efficiently.

The rising cost of water

In the UK, water prices have increased significantly above inflation over the last 20 years with prices expected to increase another 6%. The average household water bill is now over £400, while businesses often pay much higher rates. Supplying clean, drinkable water and then treating wastewater requires a huge investment in infrastructure by utility companies. As costs rise, these are passed onto consumers through higher water bills.

For most businesses, the cost of water services is often buried in overheads and utility bills. Yet for some industries like food & drink manufacturing, hospitality, healthcare and agriculture, water is one of the largest overhead costs. Even small reductions in water use can lead to big savings.

The environmental impact

Around 26% of total UK water abstraction is for industrial use. Commercial and public buildings account for 16% of consumption. All this adds up to a huge environmental footprint.

Drawing on scarce water reserves places strain on the natural environment. Discharging excessive volumes of wastewater also causes pollution. Businesses have a responsibility to use water sustainably and reduce their environmental impact. Wasting water contradicts most companies’ CSR policies on protecting natural resources.

Taking action to reduce water waste

Here are three areas businesses should focus on to cut water wastage and costs:

Monitoring usage

The first step is to measure current water use and wastage by installing smart water metering. This identifies where the biggest savings can be made, especially from tackling leaks. Ongoing monitoring ensures efficiency improvements are maintained over the long term.

Optimising processes

Analyse water-intensive processes like washing and cooling systems to see where efficiency changes can reduce consumption. Simple measures like fixing dripping taps, installing trigger nozzles and modifying rinse cycles can make an immediate difference.

Staff engagement

Involving staff in water savings initiatives helps change attitudes and ensure new measures are adopted. Simple tips like turning off taps and reporting leaks quickly can reduce waste when ingrained into company culture.

Lowering water costs

Like energy, water is a controllable cost. Comparing business water suppliers is an effective way to reduce water bills. The Business Water Shop can help you compare business water suppliers to find the most competitive tariffs for your needs. Switching suppliers is straightforward and could cut costs substantially.

Adopting water efficiency measures requires some upfront investment, but the payback is rapid through lower usage and bills. With water prices set to keep rising, slashing waste is essential to control overhead costs and environmental impact. Monitoring water consumption, optimising processes, switching suppliers and engaging staff are four key steps every business can take now.