Businesses told to switch to money-saving rainwater

Businesses are being urged to use rainwater harvesting to cut back on the millions of litres of water they use every year and save themselves a packet at the same time.

Government-funded sustainable business experts Envirowise said rainwater harvesting systems, which collect and store rainwater for later use, could help UK businesses reduce their dependence on mains water and protect them against potential shortages and price rises.

Businesses in England and Wales currently use enough water to fill more than 2.6m Olympic-sized swimming pools every year.

Experts are predicting that the country could be plunged into a water crisis if businesses continue current consumption levels, as a result of the UK’s changing climate and lifestyles.

Claire Sweeney, water specialist at Envirowise, told edie: “There has been some good work done [on water saving] but it has been a lower priority because of the energy issues and I think it perhaps hasn’t been as high up the agenda as it should be.”

Rainwater harvesting could not only help prevent localised flooding, but it could also help businesses tighten their belts in the current financial climate, Ms Sweeney said.

“With the price of water increasing, this can be a good way of reducing cost as long as it is feasible in terms of the scale because you need to have a certain size of installation to make it viable,” she added.

Envirowise has drawn up a water fact sheet to help businesses decide whether rainwater harvesting would be suitable for their premises.

The step-by-step guide helps them to work out how much water they currently use, the maximum amount they can collect from rainwater harvesting, and the cost benefits of using rainwater.

Rainwater harvesting equipment is also one of the designated water efficiency products on the Water Technology List.

The list, run by Defra and HM Revenue and Customs, in partnership with Envirowise, is part of the Enhanced Capital Allowance scheme which allows businesses to claim 100% of the first year capital allowances on investments made in technologies on the list.

The factsheet can be found here.

Kate Martin

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