Greater awareness of water consumption could lead to significant savings

Business needs to start thinking of water as it does with other utilities and manage use to reduce costs, an international energy consultancy has warned.

Water prices rises averaging 9.6% were introduced on April 1 this year as a result of OFWAT's price determinations for the period up to 2010. The prices will continue to rise over the next five years to fund investment in the industry's infrastructure and environmental improvements.

Yet, despite UK industry and commerce using over four billion litres of water a day, many businesses believe that, as there is not yet a facility to negotiate prices for water supply and wastewater treatment, there are no savings to be made.

However, according to analysts at McKinnon and Clarke, the root of the problem is widespread lack of appreciation at just how much could be saved on water and wastewater expenditure.

Chris Davenport, International Business Manager of McKinnon and Clarke's Water Division told edie news that there was little to be done about the actual price of the bill as that was set by OFWAT, but that there was plenty to be done to reduce consumption.

"Those responsible for utilities management should be aware that this significant round of price rises could be offset, or even exceeded by savings generated through undertaking an audit and analysis of an organisation's water and wastewater costs and consumption," he said.

Some of the points identified in audits include recirculation or recycling of water in industrial processes, areas of overcharging and errors in billing, and thorough monitoring of processes within industrial units to realise where the biggest savings can be made.

Mr Davenport said that business should start looking at water as part of an overall energy-management strategy: "Those areas covered by Thames, Bristol, Bournemouth & West Hampshire water will see price rises as high as 15.8%. With costs set to continue rising by an average of 25% over the next five years, the question is, what are you going to do about it?"

By David Hopkins



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