We do not have figures for how much water individual independent schools use, but we know that each school’s water usage must be considerable. The majority of independent schools need facilities for boarders, which means the provision of washing and toilet facilities that are used 24/7, as well as laundry facilities. From breakfast to supper, boarders need feeding, so the kitchens will be preparing daily meals for everyone.
Even during the holidays, the water use of independent schools is high because the accommodation and facilities are often hired by outside groups.
Another consideration is that independent schools often have extensive sports facilities - the grounds workers at Eton College, for example, have to look after 40 football/rugby pitches, 19 cricket pitches, 50 tennis courts and a rowing lake. Other schools, such as Marlborough College, have their own water polo teams, and many independent schools boast 25m swimming pools.
With so much water needed for the day-to-day running of your school, a water efficiency strategy can bring huge benefits.
It will save your school money - Sometimes the best lessons have the simplest formula. One of the best water efficiency measures you can take is to install water meters, which will enable you to keep a close eye on your water usage, broken down by which areas are covered by which meter. By doing so, you will not only be able to assess the success of any water-saving measures you take, but you will also be able to identify leaks early. It may be possible to obtain an allowance from your water wholesaler for fresh and/or wastewater lost due to a leak; your water retailer should be able to assist you in this. Castle Water’s intervention on behalf of Verulam School in St Albans resulted in a £13,600 leak allowance after we discovered a previous leak had not been properly repaired by a private contractor.
It will be an essential part of your sustainability strategy - As we have previously reported, independent schools are very keen to teach their students about the environment. With more and more schools pledging to become Net Zero by 2030, water efficiency becomes a vital PR tool that will prove to students and parents alike that sustainability is not just confined to the classroom.
It will help guard against water shortages - Following a summer of heatwaves and falling water levels, it is becoming more and more clear how vulnerable parts of the UK have become. By taking steps to maximise your water efficiency now, you will be safeguarding water supplies for your school’s future, and your country’s good.
Water efficiency measures could be as straightforward as installing dual-flush toilets and water-efficient shower heads. However, there is a lot more that can be done, and although the initial costs may seem daunting, future savings could quickly repay the investment. Consider installing greywater recycling, which uses the used water from showers, sinks, dishwashers and washing machines to flush toilets, drastically reducing the amount of clean water you use as well as the amount of wastewater you produce. Rainwater harvesting is another hugely efficient way of collecting water that’s clean enough to use for non-potable purposes, such as watering the grounds and cleaning pathways and vehicles, as well as flushing toilets.
You can also save money on your school’s water bills by switching your water supplier. Castle Water is one of the UK’s largest business water suppliers, and we could save you up to 80% on your fixed water charges. We’ll find you the best deal and take care of all the paperwork.
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