Opinion

Your water network: what you need to know

Many businesses take water for granted, but even in the UK's rainy climate it requires work to maintain a consistent water supply to your premises. As a business, you’ll likely have responsibility for maintaining your own water infrastructure, so it’s vital that this is managed efficiently to keep your business operations streamlined and ensure you’re in compliance with any relevant legislation.

Unfortunately, many businesses don’t know very much about their own water infrastructure, and often don’t take the time to understand it until it’s too late. Here are some of the questions you should be asking to ensure that your water network is in good shape, and see off any potential issues before they arise.

Do you know where your pipes are?

If your water infrastructure is more than thirty years old, it’s likely that there are no records of where your water pipes actually run on your premises. Add in potential additions, expansions and re-structuring over time, and many businesses have only a vague idea of their water network’s layout

This could pose a huge range of problems for your business. If you don’t know how your infrastructure is laid out, you’re likely to spend more time than you need to tracking down leaks or conducting maintenance. You could also run into more serious problems if you undertake construction work, and accidentally damage a pipe.

Mapping your water network using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) can increase the efficiency with which any future maintenance work can be carried out. With an accurately mapped networ it’s easier to pinpoint exactly what work needs done, and to identify the tools, processes and people needed to complete the work.

The process of network mapping can also identify voids, underground structures, or other features of your underground network that you didn’t previously know about. These can help to flag problems such as leaks, as well as identify potential performance improvements.

Could your water infrastructure be putting compliance at risk?

Unmapped water systems can waste time and reduce efficiency, but they could also pose more serious risks to your business.

Orphan “deadleg” pipes, for example from disconnected appliances, can provide a perfect breeding ground for bacteria such as legionella, putting your employees’, tenants’ or customers’ health at risk. Other factors, such as hot and cold pipes running too close together, can also cause problems, and in serious cases could lead to a potentially fatal outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease.

Businesses have a legal responsibility to identify and control legionella risks, with serious consequences if an outbreak occurs. Understanding your business’s water infrastructure is vital to spot any areas where remedial work is required to maintain compliance with water hygiene legislation, and to put in place the right processes to control future risk.

Are you sitting on a ticking time bomb?

Aging water pipes need regular monitoring and maintenance to ensure that they remain in good condition. Older pipes are prone to deterioration, leading to leaks, which can cause a host of problems for your business and its operations.

Even a small, five-litre-per-minute leak could add £5000 per year to your business’s water bill. Most leaks aren’t visible above ground, so your business could well be wasting money through a leak and not know about it.

More concerning is the possibility of disruption to your business if a pipe suddenly fails. Most businesses require water to function day-to-day, so disruptions to your supply from a burst pipe or unscheduled repair work can result in lost revenue. A loss of supply could even put vulnerable individuals at risk, for example if you’re a landlord or healthcare organisation.

Monitoring the condition of your pipes, through regular maintenance and careful measurement of your water usage, can help you to identify where even small leaks could be reducing your business’s efficiency, as well as where your organisation might be at risk of a more serious problem.

Staying on top of your water usage

Water management is often something that businesses approach reactively, but this can cause increased costs and disruption over the long term. Instead, it’s important to be proactive about understanding and managing your water infrastructure.

Total Water Solutions can help you get to grips with your business’s water usage, understanding your usage patterns, ensuring that maintenance and efficiency measures are carried out at the right times, and helping your business to stay fully compliant with regulations. By working in partnership with your company, we can help you streamline your water management by implementing straightforward processes that’ll save you time and money.

To find out more about how we can help, read our case studies or contact us

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