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Class act as schools save water with support through site visits

Small steps around water can deliver big budget results for primary and secondary schools, work this year has shown.

As schools in England get pupils back into classrooms, more than 20 schools have had great results by boosting their water efficiency performance this year – with more than 180 leaks at 23 sites identified, which have been fixed.

Out of 23 schools visited, 13% of toilets had a leak with an average of seven leaks per primary school and 11 leaks per secondary school. The average water-saving overall from the work, for each of the 23 schools, was around 9,655 litres of water per day for leaks. Schools with water meters are charged for every cubic metre (each 1,000 litres) of water they receive.

Scott MacIndeor, Head of Advanced Services at water retailer Water Plus, said: “The water-saving figures illustrate how regular water checks at school – and sites generally – is worth the time, along with checking water meter readings regularly – ideally every month, or more often during term time, throughout a year, if it’s safe to access. Small steps can really add up to great results for schools and lower utility bill costs, even saving energy when less hot water is used through more water efficiency.

“Visits to 23 schools, who are customers with Water Plus, showed 32% of urinals were uncontrolled which now, due to additional steps, are providing an estimated saving of 38,136 litres of water a day. The schools are in a much better place with the start of a new school term with bill savings another benefit, as well as cutting water waste. There are carbon emissions linked to water a site receives and the water that’s taken away and treated, so increasing water efficiency is well worth it – and helps reduce impacts we can all have on the environment.” 

Alice Denholm, Water Efficiency Delivery Manager at United Utilities, added: “This was part of a pilot scheme delivered in partnership with Water Plus and Groundwork. In total we worked with 30 schools to help them eliminate water wastage and introduce water efficiency measures. All but one of the schools visited had leaky taps and toilets and by carrying out basic repairs and introducing a few simple measures such as save a flush devices and tap inserts, we estimate more than 259,000 litres of water are being saved every day across those schools – more than 8,500 litres per day at each school.

“Schools can begin the new term knowing they are saving both water and money, which is good news for them and the environment.”

The pilot project, which was externally funded, saw 28 urinal controllers fitted – saving an estimated 45,144 litres of water a day – and a total of 219 leaks fixed across 30 schools in England.

Fixing the 163 toilet leaks at the 30 schools will deliver an estimated 208,890 litres of water saved each day.

Visits to schools, which were involved in this programme of work, were between April and June 2022. 

See more water tips and sustainability steps schools are taking to help the environment and boost awareness about water efficiency on the PSSA website here.

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