The Environment Agency and Waterwise today urged businesses to reduce their water usage and use it to deliver financial and environmental benefits, as their UK Water Efficiency Awards were announced.
UK businesses could realise savings of more than £3.5 billion a year if they implemented water efficiency measures.
The Environment Agency and Waterwise’s award winners demonstrate the creative and practical ways in which organisations are cutting water consumption.
In the farming and horticulture sector, winner Lowaters Nursery in Southampton is no longer reliant on mains water to irrigate its plants. This has been achieved through a seven million litre reservoir, rainwater capture and a clean water storage and pumping system. The nursery has gone from using 17,000 cubic metres of water to almost nothing which has meant savings of at least £20,000 a year.
The Environment Agency’s Chairman’s Award has gone to ‘Save Water Swindon’, a joint project aimed at reducing water consumption in the town by one million litres a day by 2014. It is on course to achieve this ambitious goal – having already reduced overall use by more than 560,000 litres a day.
One of the other winning projects featured ‘Gabi the camel’, the UK’s first on-air animated character dedicated to educating children about water efficiency. GabiH2O, in partnership with Nickelodeon UK, and sponsored by United Utilities and Southern Water, features a rapping camel educating children on the need to save water.
One of the runners-up is ‘Tap into Savings’, a community-level water and energy saving programme in Essex which saves more than 80,000 litres a day. More than 3,000 homes have been fitted with water-saving devices, such as shower flow regulators and dual-flush mechanisms, which have resulted in water savings of about 15 per cent per household.
Increasing pressure on water supplies
Population growth and the effects of climate change are predicted to put increasing pressure on water supplies. The recent drought also highlighted the need for businesses to play their part by using water wisely.
Lord Chris Smith, Chairman of the Environment Agency, said: 'The recent drought has brought the need for water efficiency into sharp focus. We want to see all businesses reducing their water usage and using this to deliver environmental and financial benefits. What can be achieved is highlighted by this year’s winners – all of whom should be praised for not only saving water but also putting themselves a step ahead of their competitors, saving money and preparing for the future.'
Jacob Tompkins, Waterwise’s Managing Director, said: 'We’ve been impressed by the calibre of all the entries this year; it’s been truly inspiring to see all the great work on water efficiency that’s being done all across the UK.'
The awards coincide with the Environment Agency’s Greener Business initiative aimed at recognising the British businesses that are helping to drive green growth, despite tough economic times. More information on the awards can be seen on the Waterwise website.
Anyone with an interest in greener business is encouraged to get involved by sharing their experiences, stories and advice via twitter using #greenerbusiness. They can also share case studies of best practice via the Environment Agency’s Facebook page.
Get the full list of winners and runners up by calling the National Media Team on 0207 863 8744. Outside normal office hours, please contact the National Duty Press Officer on 07798 882 092.
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