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Effective strategies

The right approach

The three elements of using water more efficiently are:

  1. monitoring use
  2. fixing and preventing leaks, and
  3. using less

This is how many companies, schools, hotels, offices and factories have successfully cut their water and wastewater bills:

  • giving someone responsibility for saving water
  • making sure taps are not left running
  • using ‘grey’ water and water reclaim units (e.g. for vehicle washes)
  • harvesting rainwater
  • selecting less thirsty species of plants and trees for their grounds and watering them early morning or evening when the water is least likely to evaporate
  • using water-saving devices

Key questions

As a first step in cutting your water bills, try and find the answers to these key questions:

  • Can you account for where the water is going on the premises?
  • Does the figure look reasonable for the size of the premises and type of business?
  • Does it fluctuate from year to year or is it increasing?
  • If it has increased or decreased can this be related to changes in production, staff numbers or other factors?
  • Is water being used when the premises are shut?
  • Is your business on the most suitable measured tariff for the size and type of usage?

Measuring water use

Water supply is measured by the cubic metre. A cubic metre is 1,000 litres, equivalent to 220 gallons or about 13 baths.

The table below shows ways of measuring water efficiency so that you can compare your organisation with others, or compare your performance over time.  Sometimes, membership of a trade body will enable you to compare use with similar organisations in your sector.

Measuring water use by area, people or production, means you can see improvements in efficiency whether overall water use is rising or falling.

Type of organisation Divide by Water use measure
Any Total area or floor space Per square metre (or foot)
Manufacturing Production output in £ or units By production output
Service sector/offices Number of staff Per member of staff
Schools and colleges Total students or students and staff Per student/staff member
Hotels and guesthouses Number of guest rooms occupied or number of guests over a given period Per occupied room or Per guest
Nursing homes Number of residents Per resident

Source: Environment Agency

Industrial premises

For factories or processing plants, analysis is easier if you can separate the amount of water used into production and domestic use.  The domestic component will be water used in toilets, showers and staff kitchens.

Internal water meters will show how much water is used in different areas or buildings. Please contact us if you would like us to quote on installing internal meters.

Some industrial processes can use recycled water. This saves money on both your water supply and wastewater charges.


You probably have long lengths of small diameter pipework supplying troughs or remote buildings. Leaks can develop on these pipes and go unnoticed. Measuring or checking flows at night, when use should be minimal, can give an indication of leaks.

If you have redundant trough supplies on your farm or would like to cancel the bill on a supply you no longer need, please contact us and we’ll disconnect it for you. This will save you the cost of the standing charge, and remove the risk of leakage and contamination.



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