Why water shouldn’t be the poor relation

When it comes to monitoring utility use, water can often be seen as the poor relation as it doesn’t receive as much attention and focus as it’s big utility cousins – gas and electricity.

A Local Authority City Council who we have worked with for several years recently provided us with the information below to easily show their utility expenditure breakdown, as you can see, electricity is the main utility with a whopping 67% of the overall consumption.

With electricity costs being 5 x water, and gas 1.5 x water it’s no surprise that’s where the attention goes, however, we’re on a mission to change that.

As a business who are passionate about reducing water usage and costs, we are very much water- focused when it comes to utilities and think it deserves as much attention as it’s two larger cousins (and that’s not just sour grapes on our part!).

Let us explain our reasoning as to why water should get just as much attention…. 

Risk

In this sense, we are talking about risk in terms of cost, not in terms of safety.

In terms of cost, we believe that organisations have two objectives;

  1. To reduce usage as much as possible
  2. To have certainty and confidence that utility costs are budgeted for and remain within the budget plan

This is where water can pose a significant risk. Gas and electricity consumption varies, particularly on a seasonal basis (we all know gas usage increases in the winter months), however, these are established patterns and can be budgeted for accordingly.

Increases in gas and electricity use, while unwelcome and should be addressed, will always be relatively small, incremental increases. Increases will be linked to equipment running when it shouldn’t and/or inefficiencies in the equipment.

However, it’s a different story with water;

  • Water pipes can break,
  • Water pipes can break underground,
  • Water pipes can break underground and the escaping water never comes to the surface.

These scenarios are not uncommon and when this happens, the water use, and hence your costs can suddenly go up by huge amounts.

Now, you may think that by relying on water bills to inform you of your usage is fine, however, they can be many weeks or months away and even if you take regular readings yourself, it can still be quite a gap before the problem is detected.

You may even presume a bill or a meter reading is a rogue read so the problem is extended even further until the vastly increased usage is confirmed.

How to reduce the risk

A completely cost-effective solution to reduce your risk is to monitor your water use is via a data logger, commonly known as AMR. The data logger continually collects usage data from the water meter and sends the information to where it can be viewed on a website portal.

This allows you to effectively monitor your water use from your laptop/computer mobile phone and therefore reduces the risk of an unseen escape of water from a leak for long periods.

Here at Demeter, one of the many features of our service is to pro-actively check every one of our customer profiles every day of the year.

We check the daily updated usage profile and have automatic alarms to notify us (and our customers) when flow rates breach trigger levels, indicating there could be a problem.

While bursts and leaks can happen at any time, cold snaps in winter can be particularly problematic.

An example below shows where we were able to quickly inform the customer of irregular usage, they, in turn, were able to attend their site and resolve the problem immediately, even if it was just to simply turn off the water until a repair could be carried out.

The above was a sudden leak at a football ground, burst running at almost 12,000 litres every hour.

Risk – No one at football ground, water from this big burst not showing so could have continued for days or weeks.

Risk mitigated – we contacted the customer shortly after seeing this burst who was able to go to site and turn the water off.

Proactive water monitoring will reduce water usage and prevent excessive use and costs, enabling your business to meet its objectives and prevent the risk of receiving a huge and unwanted water bill.

To find out more about our proactive water monitoring service contact us at savewater@demeterltd.co.uk

Demeter Water Solutions Ltd
5 North End
Sedgefield
Stockton-on-Tees
TS21 2AZ

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