Do you know how much water your setting uses? If not, you could be leaking money, warns Stephen Gaubert…
By controlling the amount of water you use, you can start saving money immediately – it’s that straightforward. Most businesses today will be using a water meter to monitor consumption and reduce the amount of waste water going into the drainage system. In saving water, you are also benefiting the environment by preserving natural resources, reducing your carbon footprint and boosting your social responsibility. There are three key steps for early years settings to consider when looking for measurable savings in their water charges:
1. Look closely at the bills
- Are you on the correct tariff?
- Check that the waste water abatement claim and surface water drainage charges are correct.
- Be sure that any meter changes have not been double-billed.
- VAT should not be charged.
- Do you have the correct size feed-pipe to the water meter?
Each supplier has its own set of terms and charging algorithms. These will vary in both complexity and the type of charges levied
2. Carry out a water audit
This involves identifying every water meter on your site(s) and logging the usage over a period of time. Identify potential leaks by reviewing abnormal usage patterns. Measure the open space on each site because this can impact drainage costs. Finally, list all the equipment on site, from hoses to washbasins.
3. Reduce Consumption
There are various calculation tools to help estimate consumption, depending upon the use of the water. The estimating depends upon a number of assumptions but it is useful to compare ‘standard usage patterns’ and usage on similar sites. This will help to identify any potential leaks and to pinpoint areas where usage can be reduced. Check the timing of automatic flushing systems, selfclosing taps and low-flush toilets. Install water-saving devices to reduce flow.
Bringing these changes into your business can have a significant financial impact on your water bills and help to protect the environment. There will be an additional opportunity for savings in England from April 2017, when competition in the water industry will be introduced. In April 2008, the introduction of retail water competition in Scotland resulted in keener pricing, improved service levels and a range of new and innovative water and waste water services. It is estimated that businesses in Scotland reduced their spend by £100m. In England, legislation, the Water Act 2014, has been introduced, which means that non-household customers in England will soon be able to enjoy similar benefits.
A water management strategy enables an early years setting to gain a competitive commercial edge by reducing consumption and implementing ongoing improvements. This will demonstrate to customers that it is serious about water and waste water efficiency, operating costs and corporate responsibility.
The article “Water, Don’t Waste a Drop” was first published in Teach Nursery Magazine.