Water retailers will receive cash boosts if they encourage business customers to be more water efficient in an industry-first scheme launched by Thames Water.
The innovative pilot programme offers financial incentives to retailers that deliver measurable savings with their customers across water-stressed London and the Thames Valley.
The initiative will run until March 2020, and businesses that reduce their usage will not only save on their water bill, but help protect precious resources and showcase their sustainability credentials.
Gerard Lyden, market development manager at Thames Water, said: “The business market is all about saving customers time, money and water. We know retailers have a wide range of service offerings and opportunities to engage with their customers, which could lead to great new ideas and actions to save water – something we really need in our supply area.
“We’ve developed our innovative, financial incentive scheme to help stimulate retailers to look for more ways to help their customers to save water, and get rewarded with a payment when they do.”
Thames Water will reward in-region retailers with a one-off payment of 5p per litre per day of water saved for each of their non-household customers. Savings will be measured by comparing three months of meter data before and after any water efficiency interventions are made.
It is estimated an average school can save 6,000 litres per day from simple improvements such as fixing leaks on toilets, taps and urinals. This would result in a big saving on the school’s water bill and a one-off £300 payment to its retailer from Thames Water.
Neil Pendle, managing director at retailer Waterscan, said: “For many companies, water efficiency is a long-term requirement for sustainable business. In a world where demand for water is on the road to outstripping supply, the water industry needs to work together to meet these challenges.
“This initiative is an example of how Thames Water is proactively addressing the challenges ahead and engaging with retailers and business users to help meet demand from a growing population and changing climate.”
It’s estimated that an extra 2.1 million people are due to move into the Thames Water region over the next 25 years. This, combined with climate change, means the company has predicted there will be a shortfall of 350 million litres of water a day between the amount available and the amount needed by 2045. By 2100, this is predicted to increase to 650 million litres a day.
In preparation, Thames Water is striving to reduce demand for water by installing meters, fixing record 1,500 leaks a week and supporting people to use less water by offering free in-home advice and water-saving gadgets, such as special shower heads.
Andrew Tucker, water efficiency manager at Thames Water, added: “While we work very hard to support our domestic customers to cut down on their water use, we don’t have our own non-household customer base so need the retailers to actively promote and deliver water efficiency with us.
“Some businesses such as golf courses, sports facilities, hotels, pubs and restaurants, offices, garden centres and food production factories use vast volumes of water, so by each of them making a few small changes they can save a lot. We’re proud to be leading the way in working with retailers to save water and hope all of those who have customers in the area we supply water to will get on board during the pilot so we can look to extend the scheme beyond 2020.”