Companies Discover Saving Water Saves Money

Saving water saves money. So say companies surveyed last month by research analyst Ethical Corporation. According to the recently released report, Unlocking the Profit in Water Savings, 99 percent of corporate sustainability managers saw water becoming a top priority for businesses in the next five to 10 years. Over half (52 percent) of sustainability managers ranked ‘water stewardship’ within the top five most important issues they are dealing with. Water management is addressed mainly through reducing use and increasing efficiency for 34 percent of the companies surveyed.

Among the examples of money saved through conserving water is Sainsbury’s, the British supermarket chain, which saved 1.6 million pounds (about $2.4 million) after fixing leaks, installing sensors on urinals, and reducing toilet water capacity. Whitbread, a British hotel and restaurant chain company, saved £350,000 ($519,000) a year after installing low-flow faucets and shower heads, sensors on urinals, and dual-flush toilets in some of its properties.

A podcast, released by Ethical Corporation, features Andy Wales, head of sustainability for SABMiller, a brewing company that includes Miller and Foster’s. “Our internal target is to improve our water efficiency by 25 percent by 2015,” Wales said during the interview. “At the moment, it takes us just under four and a half liters of water to make a liter of beer, which is better than the brewing industry average. But we need to go much further, so our 2015 target is that 25 percent reduction to 3.5 liters for a liter of beer.”

“Water is a critical resource that underpins economic growth, underpins social development, and obviously underpins environmental protection. And yet, the discussion of water issues, of water as a resource, is often stuck in the environmental ministry,” Wales said. “Those ministers are very good ministers, but they are not the most powerful in the government. We need to get finance ministers, energy ministers understand what the impact is of water for the growth of their country.”

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by

One response

  1. Good article. It is nice to see that conserving water has started to get the attention it deserves over the last few months; it is also great to see that business leaders are getting the message and have begun to realize that this is a key issue for sustainability. Water is our most precious resource, and our water reserves are currently being stretched to their limits. We are utilizing water in an unsustainable manner, and it is time to change that course and better manage our water consumption.

    The other benefit of proper water usage and management is that it can save money in other areas as well. Installing low-flow shower heads and aerating your faucets lowers your gas and/or electric bills, as it requires less energy to heat the smaller quantity of water used. Using more efficient, smarter irrigation techniques for landscaping – i.e. rain gardens that harvest water naturally, rain barrels, and root drip irrigation – can reduce the amount of water needed, improve the health of your greenery, and take strain off the sewer and storm water systems in your community.

    Here in Cleveland, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is going to start levying a fee to residents and businesses based on the amount of impervious surface area one has on site. By taking advantage of these low-cost water management techniques, you can beautify your site, lower your water consumption, counteract problems like runoff, erosion, and flooding, as well as receive credits to offset this new fee. Every little bit helps, especially for the small businesses on whose behalf we work here at COSE. Making smart, sustainable decisions on how to use resources can make your business more efficient, lower your costs, and improve your triple bottom line. Clearly, these are all things that one can support.

    Tim Kovach
    Product Coordinator for Energy at COSE

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