Regular water checks at sites in winter – and at other times – helps reduce risks to business running smoothly

Looking closer at water use at a site during the year can have a range of benefits for organisations – large and small

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In a survey, businesses say noting their meter readings regularly, and providing these to update their water use information and to reduce bills based on estimated use, had also saved them energy, saved water and helped with budgeting*. Being more aware of water that’s used helps organisations reduce water waste and risks to supply interruptions on site water pipes.

Cutting out any water waste also helps reduce impacts on the environment – along with reducing the carbon emissions linked to water, which is under Scope 3. If less water needs to be moved around by pumps at a site, or less is used in a process, then there’s an energy saving there too.

Water Plus, the largest water retailer in the UK and a winner of two National Sustainability Awards, is highlighting water efficiency and water pipe winter messages, to help organisations of all sizes – under their #BeWiseOnWater awareness campaign, including on its online Help area here – and on its business social media channels.

Here are some tips, to Be Wiser on Water:

Pipes can feel the cold – just like you

Cold weather and changing temperatures can make a burst pipe more likely at sites. It can cause ground movements that can affect underground pipes at sites – and even a small trickle or drips on a tap at a business can cause a pipe to freeze.

If you’re the bill-payer, or own a site, then you’re responsible for the pipework within the property boundary, from the point of the water meter, or from the point of an external stop tap if you don’t have a water meter. So, it’s a good idea to take steps to reduce risks to your business or organisation – and know how to manage any problems.

Use a lot of water or have more than one meter? Data loggers that can be placed on water meters and feed information on water use into an online portal help you spot saving opportunities too – and highlight additional areas needing attention. This data can also be used to see what seasonal trends there may be for your site – whether the weather is hot – or during the colder months when pipes and the ground can be affected by changes in temperatures.

Noting down meter readings regularly, if the meter is safe to access, and providing these online, is also worth doing to track use and spot any unexpected changes.

Insulate exposed pipework

Pipe lagging is inexpensive to buy and can help prevent water inside a pipe freezing when the temperature drops. It’s also a good idea to insulate tanks and cisterns, too.

Leave heating on a low setting

It might be tempting to turn off the heating while you’re not on site – but the money this saves can easily be lost again if a pipe freezes or bursts. Bursts are often more to do with how quickly the temperature changes, not necessarily how low the thermometer plummets. So, it’s a better idea to leave your heating on, at a low setting, to reduce harsh temperature changes.

Check in on your site if it’s left empty

If your business is closed during certain times of the year, including during the winter months and Bank Holidays, be sure to check in regularly and make sure no leaks, bursts or floods have happened since you’ve been away. If you do discover a problem, you can turn the stop tap off to prevent further water loss. More tips around leak checks at sites can be found here.

Keep an eye on the weather

It’s worth looking out for rain and flood warnings, as these can cause extra surface water and icy patches.

Have a plan in place

Having a water action plan, so you or staff on-site know what to do in a water emergency, is essential to save time and money if the worst should happen.

Take the time to:

  • Understand your business water system.
  • Know where the stop taps are, and make sure staff/facility managers can find them and turn them off.
  • Check what your insurance covers – know who has financial responsibility.
  • Know who to call in the event of an emergency – have numbers ready, so you can respond to leaks or water emergencies quickly and effectively.
  • Consider a plan for emergency water delivery to your site in case of a supply interruption.

Customers with Water Plus can submit meter readings quickly – at any time – online. For customers registered for the MyAccount portal, see your emails for a link to do this, or go to the Water Plus website homepage here – and scroll down to select “Submit a meter reading”.

To request data loggers, or additional water efficiency services, contact the Water Plus team at: [email protected] and include “FNZ” or “Future Net Zero” in the email subject heading.

 

Additional note:

* Survey in February 2022 of customers contacted to encourage more water meter readings to track their use closer and submit more reads to Water Plus during a year. More than 43% of respondents to the survey had seen a benefit of reading their water meter more often out of 65 who completed the survey. Of those who saw a benefit, 41% said they had saved water (with the example on the question of saving water helping to spot a leak or a dripping tap), and 20% had saved energy (with the example on the question of using less hot water).