Independent schools and academies are being urged to carry out efficiency audits to identify problems that might lead to spiralling utility costs ahead of fundamental changes to the water market that come into force in April 2017.
The water market reform will give schools the ability to choose their water supplier, unrestricted by region. Dedicated water service provider water2business says the move provides schools with the opportunity to reduce costs by up to 30%.
David Seymour, New Business Manager for water2business, said: “Schools in the UK spend upwards of £70million on drinking water and water disposal every single year. Some secondary education institutions find themselves spending between £3,000 and £8,000; much of which is unnecessary cost.
“The most common issues we find when we carry out an audit are poor urinal control, over-sized cisterns, unidentified leaks and poor maintenance. All problems which are relatively easy to fix, and can lead to large savings in the long run.”
Water2business, which is a joint venture between Wessex Water and Bristol Water, works with businesses, charities and public sector organisations in England and Scotland offering water and waste water management solutions.
Seymour said: “A simple audit can quickly identify any potential areas of concern, and with the impending market reform, now is the ideal opportunity to take action to drive down waste and potentially save a lot of money. It just makes good economic and environmental sense.
“Our experience with schools has highlighted the importance of three factors. Firstly we understand how important it is that schools can carry on with everyday life, therefore we do our best to work out of school hours and during holiday time.
“Secondly, we also understand the financial constraints schools face and are able to offer a number of funding options to allow school’s to carry out an audit which will inevitably lead to cost savings in the long run.
“And lastly but just as importantly, water efficiency is more than implementing the right tools and equipment; it is about educating people how they can do their bit to reduce the amount of water we use.”
Jon Mortimer, Estates Bursar at Bryanston School, Dorset, said that working with the company to manage their water supply has had a ‘demonstrable’ impact on the institution’s waste and costs – not least with the initial audit identifying a number of below ground leaks.
He said: “Due to the chalk on which the school is built any water escaping the pipe network was quickly absorbed, and so identifying the source of the leaks was a challenge.
“Following an audit which considered current water usage, tariffs and expenditure, the water2business team made a number of recommendations with regards how we could reduce costs – not least by finding the source of the waste and progressing repairs.
“The results have been entirely positive – from both an economic and an environmental perspective – with costs demonstrably reduced, and on-going monitoring in place to ensure we don’t end up back where we started in times to come.”