Water Conservation for the Retail Industry
A guide to reducing water use in your retail business
Water is a precious resource, fundamental to both homes and businesses. But it's also a limited resource with water shortages becoming a global reality. However, small changes such as identifying water waste on site, setting a baseline for water use, raising awareness amongst staff and customers, or upgrading to water efficient devices can help to save water and money.
Certified water steward graduate: Case study
Sustainability is a top priority for Irish retailers. Many retailers have already completed Irish Water’s Water Stewardship Programme and the feedback has been incredibly positive. They’ve taken a range of new tips, tools and information from the course and transferred them into tangible results - saving water and money for their businesses. Meet one of our retail graduates, and find out how Irish Water’s Water Stewardship Programme has benefitted their business in this video:
Set a baseline
Get started by setting a baseline on water usage per annum. Then track your progress in reducing this year on year.
- Check your water bills to examine water use patterns and charges and safely check your water meter.
- Detect leaks – identify a period with little or no water use across the areas of your site such as overnight and carry out a night-time test.
How to carry out a night-time test
- Find your water meter
- Record meter reading at the end of the day (at the close of business)
- Ensure all water consumers are turned off, including urinals
- Record meter reading first thing in the morning (before business opens)
- The difference in readings will tell you the night-time usage, when the business is closed
If water consumption is unexpected, and can't be accounted for, you may have a leak. Fixing a leak will save water and save money.
Monitoring & measuring
Saving water while maintaining cleanliness is the biggest challenge for retail businesses. Before taking the plunge on your water-saving initiative, a good start would be to compare water use to other industry benchmarks. This will provide an estimation of the average water use for a specific industry sector, helping you to evaluate current consumption patterns before analysing your own.