Utility bills are as much of a worry for public sector organisations as they are for businesses, and it's no different for anyone responsible for police forces. With budgets getting ever tighter, duty holders are looking for ways of saving money without making a noticeable difference to the day to day running of their force. When it comes to electricity and gas utilities, most organisations will shop around to get a better deal, often using price comparison sites to try and find the best deal.
Since 2017, businesses and public sector organisations have been able to shop around for the best deal on their water and wastewater bills. The business retail water market has made it possible for organisations to switch their water supplier to a cheaper one, often with instant savings. For example, by switching to Castle Water, you could save up 80% on your fixed business water charges. This could add up to thousands of pounds’ worth of savings every year.
Switching your water supplier can bring other benefits in terms of the services offered. Castle Water customers can access their business water account, anytime, using our online customer portal, MyAccount. You’ll also have access to a number of features, such as view your statement of accounts, download invoices, find and submit meter readings. We are continually updating MyAccount to provide new features that will make your life even easier.
In total, savings of almost £40,000 were achieved, accounting for 10% of their annual water spend. A return on the total investment was achieved in just one year and the police force has already exceeded its own financial and environmental targets for reducing water consumption.
There is a very real possibility that in some parts of the UK, ‘Day Zero’ droughts are uncomfortably close. This means that all public sector organisations (and businesses) must do what they can to become more water efficient, including your police force.
Luckily any water efficiency measures you implement will be a win-win - you will not only be making your police station/s more water-sustainable, you will also be saving money on your water bills. In fact, the cost of installing the technology and equipment needed to implement significant water efficiency measures is often quickly offset against the savings made through lower water bills - potentially in the tens of thousands of pounds depending on the size of your force.
Most organisations don’t identify underground water leaks until it’s too late. It’s worth noting that if leaks occur on the grounds of your premises, your force will be responsible for the water bill. You will therefore have to pay for all the water that’s been wasted, as well as foot the bill for repairs, which could become considerable if there has been any structural damage caused by the leak. The best way of avoiding this situation is to make good use of your water meters. By checking them regularly, you will get a good indication of what your normal water usage is; this means that if there’s an unexplained increase in your water bill, you’ll be alerted to the possibility of a leak sooner rather than later. Once alerted, you can take steps to identify and repair the leak almost as soon as it has occurred, and before you spend thousands of pounds on water you never get to use.
Technology is making it a lot easier to save water, from low flush toilets and smart urinal systems to aerated flow devices in taps and showers. Greywater recycling is becoming more popular as a way of reusing relatively clean water rather than flushing it straight down the drain. This is where you divert the wastewater produced in sinks and showers to use to flush toilets, and/or to outside taps where it can be used to wash vehicles and yards. Greywater recycling will need an initial investment, but pays dividends in the long run not just in terms of the amount of clean water you use, but also the amount of wastewater you discharge into the drainage system (and pay for). Similarly, rainwater harvesting is also a way of saving the amount of clean water you draw from the system and can be used in the same way as greywater.
Any water efficiency measures you can implement will make a difference, but educating staff members about how and why they need to save water will help enormously. We have produced an Achieving Behaviour Change guide to give you advice and tips on how to encourage everyone to change their habits when it comes to water use. Behaviours could be as simple as making sure the taps are turned off when people have finished washing their hands, or reporting dripping taps so they can be repaired.
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