Revised charges for surface water drainage provide a great incentive to explore rainwater harvesting and sustainable urban drainage systems, says Growth Hub environmental business advisor, Alasdair Dalzel-Job.
From April 2015, United Utilities is changing the way surface water drainage is charged as part of site area charges for North West businesses.
The site area method of charging for drainage bases the amount you pay on the size of the ‘chargeable area’ of your premises, which excludes areas where rainfall is either drained naturally into the ground or stored for other uses.
This then gives you a real financial incentive to reduce your impact on sewer networks by increasing natural drainage on site through sustainable urban water drainage systems (SuDs) or installing rainwater harvesting measures to re-use rainfall for manufacturing processes or domestic water use.
However, changes to the United Utilities charging structure for 2015/16 increase this incentive for some businesses even further. Whereas the surface water drainage charge previously accounted for 50% of a business’s total annual site area charge for water drainage, it now accounts for 60%.
The changes basically mean that it is now even more financially prudent to look at sustainable water management techniques to reduce your reliance on surface water drainage.
For example, if a business installed measures that lowered its chargeable site area from band 10 (25,000-49,999m2) to band 9 (18,000-24,999m2), its surface water drainage charge would be cut by £13,896. This is nearly £3,000 more than would have been saved under the previous charging scheme.
In other words, some businesses could now save around 25% more on their surface water drainage charge than previously by improving natural drainage or harvesting rainwater.
It’s a great opportunity, particularly if you are making changes to your existing site layout or building/moving into a new site – these are ideal times to consider incorporating SuDs or rainwater harvesting into your plans.
Even if you are not doing one of the above, if you use lots of water in your processes you should consider harvesting rainwater on your site. For some businesses, rainwater harvesting can be a ‘win-win-win’ cost saving measure. As well as potentially cutting your surface water drainage charge, it will also reduce your metered water usage and could reduce sewage charges as well.
If you think you could make big savings on your water usage, get in touch with Green Growth service for advice – 0161 359 3050.