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2 months ago

Water Wisdom, Conservation and Compliance

Water is an invaluable resource for a majority of British businesses, so it's essential to to understand the regulations, adopt conservation practices and contribute to sustainable water management where possible. This guide provides SMEs with practical insights into commercial water regulations, effective water-saving strategies and other considerations to strengthen their environmental responsibility and create cost savings.

Understanding Commercial Water Regulations

Small businesses in the UK must adhere to the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999 legislation to ensure the safe and efficient use of water. These regulations cover details of the design, installation and maintenance of plumbing, with the intention of preventing contamination and misuse of the water supply. It’s essential to stay informed about the Water Supply Regulations and take measures that align with the guidelines to remain compliant.

A solid understanding of The Trade Effluents (Prescribed Processes and Substances) Regulations 1989 is vital if your business discharges liquid waste into public sewers. Obtaining the necessary permits and following the guidelines will ensure your SME operates legally and contributes to environmental protection. Stay proactive in managing wastewater to avoid penalties and maintain a responsible business image.

Monitoring your water usage is a fundamental aspect of responsible management. If your business doesn't currently use a water meter, fit a water meter to measure consumption accurately. Meters can also help you identify and rectify leaks promptly. Not to mention, this proactive approach can contribute to significant cost savings.

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Implementing Best Practices for Conservation

Fix Leaks

The importance of promptly addressing leaks is difficult to overstate. Regular inspections of taps, pipes and toilets should become part of your routine to identify and repair leaks as soon as they occur. Leaks contribute significantly to water wastage, leading to increased bills.

Upgrade to Efficient Appliances

Upgrading to water-efficient appliances is a practical step towards reducing overall water consumption. Consider installing low-flow toilets and taps, which maintain functionality while cutting water usage. This investment is more sustainable practices and demonstrates a commitment to efficiency.

Think About Your Landscaping

Outdoor water usage, especially in landscaping, is a sizeable portion of businesses’ overall consumption. Choose drought-resistant plants that require less watering and consider collecting rainwater for irrigation. Aside from contributing to water conservation, these measures will also make your premises easier on the eye.

Promote Awareness

A well-informed workforce plays a pivotal role in sustainable water management. Educate your employees on the importance of conservation and encourage responsible usage in the workplace. You will collectively make a substantial impact by taking simple measures, such as turning off taps when not in use.

Organise Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance of equipment that uses water is essential to ensure efficiency. Implement a schedule for the inspection and maintenance of appliances, plumbing systems and irrigation equipment. A proactive approach could extend the lifespan of your equipment and make your water consumption more efficient.

Water Management Strategies

Conduct Water Audits

Conducting regular ‘water audits’ will give you a better grasp of your business's water usage patterns. These audits involve a comprehensive analysis of consumption, identifying areas of high use and assessing the effectiveness of conservation measures. Through these audits, SMEs can develop strategies for improvement, optimise usage and identify potential for cost savings.

Keep Monitoring

Establishing a solid system for monitoring water usage is crucial to remain efficient. Compare your business's consumption against industry benchmarks to gauge performance and set realistic goals for improvement. Consistent monitoring provides valuable insights for better water management practices.

Engage with Suppliers

Building a collaborative relationship with water suppliers can lead to mutually beneficial outcomes. Engage with your water supplier to explore potential efficiency programmes, rebates or incentives. Some providers offer guidance on optimising water usage within your specific industry.

Be Prepared

Developing a contingency plan is essential for navigating potential shortages or disruptions in water supply. Identify alternative water sources like stored reserves or backup suppliers to ensure your business can overcome unexpected challenges. A well-prepared business is resilient and better equipped to minimise the impact of disruption.

Additional Considerations


Investigate the practicality of incorporating ‘greywater systems’ in your business premises. Greywater is waste from non-toilet plumbing fixtures such as sinks, washing machines and dishwashers. This wastewater can be treated and reused for flushing toilets or irrigating landscapes, where it doesn’t come into direct contact with humans. Implementing these systems can conserve water and contribute to a sustainably run business.

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Government Support

Explore available Government grants and support initiatives aimed at promoting water efficiency in British businesses. Financial incentives could be available to encourage the adoption of water-saving technologies that align with the Government’s sustainability goals. Stay informed about opportunities to leverage support.

Look into Certifications

Consider picking up water efficiency certifications for your business. Training courses like those provided by Waterwise demonstrate your business's dedication to sustainable practices and provide an industry-recognised standard for customers and stakeholders. Displaying these certificates can enhance your business's reputation.

In Summary

Embracing responsible water management is a regulatory requirement and a stride towards long-term sustainability and cost savings. By understanding and complying with commercial water legislation, implementing water-saving practices and adopting management strategies, SMEs have the power to shrink their environmental footprint and boost their efficiency.

With water, every drop saved is worthwhile. By embracing the principles outlined in this guide, you can tap into a more sustainable future for your business.

Can I Change my Water Supplier?

Suppose you want to switch to a new provider. In that case, your business must operate within a property designated for business purposes only because residential properties aren’t currently eligible for water contract changes.

While not essential, providing your Supply Point Identification Number (SPID) can speed up the process of switching. You should find your SPID, consisting of eight numerical digits, at the top of your water invoices. Your chosen supplier can use this code to contact your previous provider and facilitate the transfer smoothly.

The switchover typically takes approximately 28 days to complete, with the exact timeframe depending on the number of properties you want to transfer, your location and the terms of your previous contract.

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Sam White