During the pandemic, it was widely reported that global water quality, as well as air quality, improved significantly.

In countries such as China and India, the break in industrial manufacturing meant there was a reduction of chemicals in the water during the lockdown period. Unfortunately, the improvement in global water quality over lockdown was somewhat marred by the increase in discarded PPE products finding their way into the world's rivers and seas.

Globally, one of UNESCO’s sustainability goals is to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”. This involves protecting and restoring water-related ecosystems by the reduction of pollution, eliminating dumping, and minimising the release of hazardous chemicals.

Water quality in the UK

In the UK, there have been misleading reports which paint a gloomier picture than the reality. It was reported that in 2020, the UK had the lowest bathing water quality in Europe, but as a result of the lockdowns, it wasn’t possible to take samples in 2020, which is why the figures appeared to be so low. In 2019, 72% of the UK’s bathing waters were considered ‘Excellent’, and 98.3% passed the minimum standards. There’s no reason to suppose that the 2021 figures will be any lower, and things are set to improve further with the government’s £5bn investment in environmental improvements.

Putting a stop to littering

Unfortunately, littering is still a huge problem that affects water quality. Water companies have no control over this, but a number of environmental groups are trying to tackle the problem by raising awareness and highlighting the polluters and effects of pollution:

  • The annual Unblocktober campaign aims to change the countries habits to stop wet wipes and grease being flushed down the drains.
  • Surfers Against Sewage has just published a report showing how much plastic pollution is directly attributable to just 12 companies in an attempt to push for new legislation that will help sort out the problem of single-use plastics getting into the ocean.
  • And the Keep Britain Tidy campaign is aimed at individuals as well as the government and organisations to try to do something about the two million tonnes of plastic that makes its way into our rivers and seas every year.

How can your business help?

Businesses all over the UK are doing what they can to improve water quality. As an example, a Hull-based company has found a way of recycling disposable face masks and is working with major retailers to roll out the project nationwide.

The UK farming industry is being given an incentive to help improve water quality thanks to the Agricultural Transition Plan, which offers financial incentives for sustainable farming practices.

The water regulator Ofwat is encouraging everyone - individuals and businesses alike - to use their water well and treat it as the finite resource it is. The quality of the UK’s water is dependent on moderate quantities of water being available to dilute pollutants, and the more efficiencies you can make, the better the water quality will be.

As the UK’s leading independent business water supplier, we can help your business achieve water efficiencies which will save water and money at the same time as keeping the quality of the UK’s water as high as possible. Contact us today if you’re interested in switching your business water supplier or if you would like to get in touch about our other services, such as business water services or wastewater management.