How to make your business more water efficient

Top tips for saving water in your business


Minimising water use in your business can require financial commitment. However, many measures are cheap and simple to implement and could potentially save you up to 30 per cent of your water costs. You could:

  • Only use water when you need to. Record how much water your business uses on a daily or weekly basis to understand your demands. This will help you decide the best ways to save water and money. If you abstract water it will also help you comply with the conditions of your licence or authorisation.
  • Educate staff about implementing water-efficiency measures. You could include their roles and responsibilities in a water policy statement, eg to report leaking taps straight away.
  • Get buy-in from management and involve staff with responsibility for facilities, finance and operations in water minimisation measures from the outset. This may form part of an existing environmental policy. See our guides on how to write an environmental policy and making the case for environmental improvements.
  • Appoint a member of staff to monitor water use and identify minimisation opportunities, eg by doing a regular walk-round survey of your business and reading water meters. If parts of your business use a lot of water, consider installing sub-meters. See the page in this guide on how to analyse how much water you use.
  • Buy water efficient new equipment. This may mean a larger initial investment, but it will pay off in the long term. See the page in this guide on finance and support for water efficiency measures.
  • Protect against cold weather-related leaks by insulating pipes and checking them regularly.
  • Investigate alternative water sources, eg harvesting rainwater through a roof catchment or reusing wastewater from wash basins and showers, known as greywater. Once captured, you can use the water where non-drinking water is required, for example to flush toilets.
  • Fit water-minimising controls, eg push taps, low-flush toilets, flow regulators or restrictors. The payback period for installing flush controls on urinals can be as little as five weeks.
  • Review your plans to reduce water use, ideally at least once a year.
  • Consider treating your wastewater to reuse it for industrial uses, toilet flushing and irrigation which do not require water fit for drinking. Using less treated drinking water will save you money. See the page on reducing and treating your trade effluent in our guide on discharging trade effluent.
  • Check your meter size is appropriate to the amount of water you use. If it is larger than you need, you may be paying more than is necessary.
  • Check your meter location and the supplies it measures, eg in industrial and business parks where a neighbouring business may be supplied through your meter. Also check that your meter serial number matches the number on your bills and that you are being billed for your own meter.
  • Fix drips and leaks as quickly as possible.

Northern Ireland Water can provide you with advice on saving water. Find out about water and waste services on the Northern Ireland Water website.

For more information on facilities such as washrooms, catering and laundry areas, see our guide on how to save water at commercial premises. For information on washing and rinsing processes, see our guide on how to save water at industrial premises.

Practical water efficiency advice

You can download Invest NI's practical water efficiency guide for businesses (PDF, 957K).