It’s easy to take water for granted. After all, you turn the tap and there it is: fresh, clean and apparently limitless. But as we wake up to mankind’s impact on the planet, perhaps it will come as no surprise that our usage of water is becoming problematic to wildlife and the greater environment.
In the UK alone we consume 60% more water than we did 50 years ago, and in around 18% of water bodies across the country, the level of extraction is not sustainable. To add to this, our excessive use of water and the contaminants that make it back into the water system are affecting our own health and that of our wildlife. More than half the species that depend on water and wetlands are in decline, with around 13% critically so.
But how is this happening? And what can we do to intelligently manage our water use?
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How does our water consumption impact wildlife
Over half of all water consumed daily, around 55%, is delivered by the water companies to us, the end consumer, meaning homes and businesses. Approximately 27% is used by the power utility companies and the rest is lost to waste!
This water has to come from somewhere, and that somewhere tends to be rivers, lakes, reservoirs and groundwater. And with the fact that population growth and climate change are stretching the water supply, species that depend on wetlands or other freshwater are feeling the impact.
Kingfishers, otters, water voles, many insects and freshwater fish have all seen declines in recent years through a combination of overuse of water and intensive development of land for building or agriculture. It’s not just wetlands that suffer, with a chain of events causing declines to species beyond the waterways. Swallows, for example, thrive on a ready supply of insects and their population has been declining for years. In fact, since the 1960s, we have actually wiped out over half of our biodiversity in the UK.
There have been calls by agencies such as Waterwise, WWF and Water.org to increase the awareness of our water consumption and promote more intelligent water management. Our water systems are also becoming increasingly polluted, especially with plastic waste, which has become synonymous with our growing environmental awareness. The UK Government introduced the Resources and Waste Strategy in December 2018, which does cover plastic waste among its focal points.
Corporate responsibility and zero waste
Although they might seem like buzzwords, phrases like zero waste and carbon neutral are more important than ever to people. Customers and clients are increasingly looking to companies that can reflect their personal values, and environmental responsibility is often one of those core values.
Effective water management is one of the cornerstones of environmental sustainability and is something that can be done with just a little bit of strategy. And for a business to state that it has reduced or minimised it’s waste-water is a huge factor and a massive selling point in today’s market.
Water management in the workplace
As with all changes, there needs to be an effort from many people to create a big impact. And, one of the best places to start changing habits is in the workplace. By raising awareness around our impact on the water system in the office, the knock-on effects should be that we change our habits at home as well.
The first step of course is by making people aware of the issue. Putting up posters, raising the issues in team meetings and assigning the role of sustainability manager is a great start. Setting targets to reduce water and running regular updates will help people get involved with doing their bit for waste water management.
Encourage less water usage
It might seem obvious, and of course we all need to drink plenty of water each day. But encouraging your team to be responsible with their water usage is the best way to reduce the amount of water you use. Not running taps if they’re not using them, only boiling as much water as you need in the kettle and being mindful of the water used for cleaning and washing are other great ways to minimise water consumption.
Knowing where your water is being wasted by using a Smart Water Meter is also a good option to ensure your business can make positive changes if water is being wasted unnecessarily.
Make savings in your washroom
An obvious place where water can be saved is in the washroom as toilet and urinal flushing can account for over 60% of water use in a business. Making sure that your toilets and urinals work as efficiently as possible is vital in long term reduction in water usage. If your washroom is fitted with toilets with older traditional flush cisterns it may be worthwhile looking at a water saving system that can turn the old system into a variable system that lessens it’s environmental impact.
Invest intelligently in intelligent water management solutions
A little investment in water saving products doesn’t just reduce the water used, it can also save money on the office water bill. Citron Hygiene offer a wide range of intelligent water management solutions that could equal cost savings of up to 90% for your business. These solutions that can help minimise office water consumption but still keep your workplace as hygienic as ever.
If you’d like to know more about managing water intelligently in your business, contact 08000 66 55 52 or fill out the contact form below.