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UK’s 1st Water Saving Week to kick off Friday

water-from-faucetsWasting water means wasting money, so the theme of this year’s inaugural “Water Saving Week” is “Money down the drain.”

Water Saving Week 2009 kicks off Friday and runs until 23 July. The national awareness campaign seeks to highlight the direct link between water use and the energy bill.

So what’s the problem? Don’t we get plenty of rain anyway?  Well, no. According to the UK Climate Projections recently released by the UK Environment Agency, there is less rainfall per person in the South East of England than in Sudan. Not only that, but the Environment Agency already classifies 16 out of 22 water regions in England as water stressed.

“Water stressed,” as defined by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), is when the demand for water exceeds the available amount during a certain period or when poor quality restricts its use.

The results of the UK Climate Projections research shows drastic changes to the UK’s climate may be in store. Summer projections indicate that some parts of the UK could see temperatures rise by as much as 8 degrees C, and we may face up to 64 per cent less rainfall per year. Inevitably, increases in water stress will cause increases in water bills, so the time seems ripe to examine the costs of this wastage.

You might ask, “How could a business benefit by becoming more water efficient?”  Well, UK businesses are collectively already missing out on combined cost savings of as much as £10 million per day by failing to maximise the potential of water efficiency, say Envirowise, a Government-funded programme which aims to promote the sustainable use of resources in UK business.

If that weren’t reason enough, for every cubic metre of water saved, a business reduces its carbon footprint by approximately 1 kilogram of CO2, according to Water UK.

A recent survey of 420 businesses across the UK by Envirowise found that 62 per cent don’t currently take any steps to measure or monitor their water usage, 85 per cent don’t have any specific water reduction targets in place, and 61 per cent don’t know how much their company spends on water each year.

Water Saving Week is also supported by the Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA), who will soon be launching a Water Efficient Product Labelling Scheme for consumers. The label aims to assure consumers that a product meets minimum water efficiency standards. So far it has over 600 products listed, with more expected by the end of the year.

One of the biggest water efficiency issues in the UK is that, although we use only around 2 to 3 litres of water per day for drinking, we are each supplied with — and use — an average of 135 to 160 litres per day, all of which has been treated and purified at great financial and, often, environmental cost. We use the rest of that water for things like flushing the loo, showering and clothes washing. A single flush, in fact, can use up to 13 litres of water, all of drinking quality.

Clearly, there’s great potential for resource savings there.

“I am really happy to be supporting Water Saving Week,” said Tim Farron MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Defra. “Too often we take water for granted and I hope that this campaign will get more people to seriously consider how they use this precious commodity.”

Water Saving Week 2009 is sponsored by Roca Ltd.

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