UK-wide search for inspiring water efficiency projects begins

Posted: Tuesday 3rd July 2012

Waterwise and the Environment Agency launch the UK Water Efficiency Awards 2012.

Businesses that save water save money, that’s the message from the Environment Agency and Waterwise as they launch the 6th Water Efficiency Awards – a biannual competition that celebrates the achievements of public, private and third sector organisations in making the UK more water efficient. Categories include innovation, Landscape and Gardening, Community-led Initiative, Business and Industry and more.

Businesses in the UK currently use about 9.8billion cubic litres of water a day – but estimates show that we could be using up to a third less – saving around £10million every day. And with more frequent droughts, climate change and population growth threatening to reduce the amount of water available in the UK, organisations that are saving water now are putting themselves a step ahead of their competitors, saving money, and preparing for the future.

Entrance to the awards is now open until the end of June 2012, and the Environment Agency and Waterwise are looking for entries from any business or organisation that has taken steps to improve its own water efficiency, or has helped others to reduce their water use.

Previous winners include Lafarge Cement, which reduced its water use from one river by 275,000 cubic metres – saving £14,000 a year, Malvern Hotel & Blues Grill in Margate, which saw a 46% drop in water use and annual savings of more than £840 for their "Every Drop Counts" project, Berkeley Homes Ltd, which undertook a five month study into water consumption in new housing, and Reigate and Banstead Borough council, which worked with the local water company and housing trust to fit water saving devices in 500 homes, leading to a 25% reduction in water use.

Other winners have come from many diverse fields, including water companies, steel manufacturing, agriculture, food production including bakeries and meat processors, and horticulture. This year we are seeking applications from all over the UK to find the most innovative, effective and inspiring projects.

Ian Barker, Head of Land and Water at the Environment Agency said:

“All kinds of organisations are already taking great strides in becoming more water efficient, as they recognise that saving water makes good business sense, and saves money. The dry weather that we have seen over the past two years has brought the need for water efficiency into sharp focus. We know that in the future climate change and population growth will increase the pressure on water availability – and droughts could become more frequent, so taking steps to be water efficient now will help to future proof businesses, and keep them competitive.”

Jacob Tompkins, Waterwise’s Managing Director

“This is a great opportunity to recognise and reward all of the fantastic water efficiency initiatives that are taking place all across the UK. And it’s free to enter!”

The categories for this year's Water Efficiency Awards include:

Built Environment Projects that make use of proven water efficiency technologies, including rainwater and/or greywater systems, in refurbishment and/or retrofit of existing homes

Business and Industry Projects that save water and save money for private sector companies; projects seek to engage employees with water efficiency will be scored higher than technology-only approaches

Campaigns and Education Projects that seek to, for example, influence water-using behaviours, encourage uptake of home visit retrofit offers and/or raise awareness of our impact on the natural water environment; projects that demonstrate an understanding of their target audience(s) and/or have used research to inform the development of their initiative will be given higher scores

Community-led Initiative Projects that are delivered by or with community-based organisations or other locally-based groups, and in which people have come together to improve the local water environment and raise awareness of peoples’ impact on it; projects involving a diversity of local organisations/informal groups will be given higher scores as well as projects creating volunteer opportunities within the community

Farming and Horticulture Projects that improve water efficiency in the commercial farming and horticulture sectors; projects that go beyond irrigation efficiency to, for example, consider water-smart crop selection, water footprinting or local water environmental improvements will be given a higher score

Innovation Projects that develop, test or trial a new idea, such as an innovative approach to engaging households or a new product; projects must demonstrate that the new idea, if rolled out across the UK, would save millions of litres of freshwater a day

Landscape and Gardening Projects that demonstrate good practice in water-efficient gardening and landscaping, including use of water efficiency technologies and methods

Research and Evaluation Projects that seek to solve water efficiency challenges and/or better understand the value of water efficiency interventions; projects will be given higher scores if peer reviewed and/or if efforts to implement results are demonstrated

EA Chairman’s Award This year the award seeks to highlight good work being done by water companies to manage water demand; one project, delivered by or with a water company that best demonstrates good practice in delivering water efficiency initiatives will be selected

There will also be an award given to exemplar projects in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Sponsors this year include Defra, Welsh Government, Ofwat, Kingspan, Hozelock, Homebase, Business Stream, Kettle Crisps and NERC.

For full details and information on how to enter please visit

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