Despite the best efforts and significant investment from water companies, data from the water industry regulator Ofwat shows that more than three billion litres of water leaks every day, a level unchanged for at least four years and just 7% lower than the level in 2000.
With large bursts, companies do usually manage to respond quickly, but smaller leaks can also cause huge amounts of water to be lost and can go on for weeks – even months. Undetected, leaks can be particularly costly for public buildings that are typically closed for weeks on end during holiday periods, such as academies and schools, resulting in them paying for water they are not using.
It is important for these educational establishments to calculate how much water is used outside of school hours (including holidays). This exercise will help to identify leaks and other inefficiencies. Some schools have been known to leave flushing urinals running all through the summer holidays, according to a best-practice guide from the Environment Agency.
It is estimated that 20% of the water paid for in the UK actually leaked away before it reached anybody’s tap, and around a third of that total occurs on customer premises. Putting a stop to unseen leaks through a proper water audit and monitoring service, which analyses when and where water is being used, can reduce consumption significantly. A consumption and monitoring service is just one of the areas where and outside consultancy like Energy Management LLP can help customers with substantial reductions and controls over their water bills, with water procurement and tariff reviews two other areas of expertise.
As academies grow – there are now 4,000 in the UK under 1,000 different trusts, they can often occupy multiple geographical areas and cross municipal boundaries with sites covered by different water suppliers. There can be numerous benefits to an academy opting for one supplier across the board, not least the opportunity to standardise the way bills are formatted and paid and therefore lessen the administrative burden.
Since the market was deregulated in April 2017, 22 companies exist in the water retail sector in England and Scotland, so it is not as if there are a shortage of options. Our water procurement negotiating team have excellent contacts with these suppliers are well-placed to get the right deal and the right price for your organisation.