Growing number of companies recognise business advantages of water efficiency

Winners of the 2001 Water Efficiency Awards include a water efficiency education programme for schools, low flush public toilets, and reductions in water consumption at a fish processing factory, with the award’s organisers optimistic that the standard of entries reflect that a growing number of companies are realising that water efficiency makes good business sense.

At the awards ceremony on 12 November, coordinated by the Environment Agency and Water UK, the organisation which represents all UK water suppliers and wastewater operators at a national and European level, winners were announced in five categories. In the Envirowise Industry and Business category, the winner was Hull-based fish merchant F Smales & Son, for significant reductions in water consumption and effluent by making low cost changes to its fish production methods in their factory which handles 8,000 tonnes of fresh and processed fish each year, and for promoting water efficiency to its staff.

The NFU Agriculture and Horticulture category was won by C A Strawson Farming Ltd’s Nottinghamshire farm, for reduced water consumption and increased crop quality through changes to its vegetable washing and irrigation processes. The farm has also made more efficient use of its own borehole supply, and has invested in staff training.

“Water efficiency is an essential element of sustainable water management, but an element that the water industry cannot deliver on its own,” said Chief Executive of Water UK Pamela Taylor. “We are delighted by the wide range of organisations that have entered for these awards and demonstrated a real commitment to the sustainable use of water resources.”

The Ofwat Economic Research category was won by Essex and Suffolk Water for the installation and monitoring of a range of water efficient appliances in a new housing development in order to produce a specification for new homes for use within the building industry and local town planning departments. Water efficiency devices also featured in the winning entry of the Public Sector and NGO category, which was won by the National Trust for its 8,500 acre estate in Purbeck, Dorset, where conventional toilets have been replaced with five waterless or low flush WCs in order to reduce consumption and demonstrate water saving techniques. The judges described the project as “inspiring and challenging”.

“These awards demonstrate that organisations are making real progress towards achieving sustainable business practices, which is good for the environment and good for business,” said Environment Agency Chief Executive. “The Agency is committed to working with such organisations towards achieving a ‘greener’ business world.”

Finally, in the Communication category there was no overall winner, but Three Valleys Water was commended for its environmental outreach programme increasing awareness of water efficiency within schools. “Three Valleys Water has listened clearly to what people want and is doing it with them, not at them,” said the judges.

A total of 127 entries were received for the awards, from a variety of organisations ranging from a ham manufacturer to a prison, and from local authorities to small family businesses, say the awards’ organisers.

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