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How to prepare for higher water costs

The increasing occurrence of drought and flooding means higher water costs are inevitable, according to a new report, but some water-intensive companies are already taking action.

The increasing occurrence of drought and flooding means higher water costs are inevitable, according to a new report, but some water-intensive companies are already taking action.

The report, from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, says that Britain’s water industry will face higher costs for treating and managing water supplies due to extreme weather resulting from climate change.

Climate impacts

As summers become longer and hotter, water treatment plants will be required to run at peak flow rates for longer, raising maintenance and running costs as well as electricity consumption. The increased water flow will also require more chemicals to clean the water faster.

While drier weather will mean increased water use and therefore higher costs, the flip side of the extreme weather will likely be intense rainfall, which quickly leads to flooding on dry ground.

To combat flooding, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers expects that greater investment will be required in urban drainage systems, including parkland, ponds and ditches.

Water efficiency

Companies are being encouraged to shop around for a water supplier that provides good advice and guidance on water efficiency.

In some cases, companies have decided to bypass the market by becoming their own water retailer. 

Pub chain operator, Greene King, which has nearly 3,000 sites across the country, was the first non-domestic water customer to take control of its water by obtaining a self-supply license in April 2017. 

The company partnered with sustainable water management firm Waterscan for the move and has now revealed that it has since saved 140,000m3 - equivalent to more than 676,000 pints a day. In June, Blackpool Council partnered with Waterscan for the same service.

Action plan

Business in the Community has developed a six-step action plan to help companies improve water efficiency.