Hot on the heels of the BMA Conference with its principal theme of sustainability, Richard Braid, Managing Director of Cistermiser and Keraflo, looks at the contribution the UK’s water management sectors and businesses can play in the fight against climate change.
In 2019, when Net Zero first became embedded in UK law, 2030 seemed like a lifetime away. Now, we have under eight years to achieve this before the clock stops and we learn if we have exceeded the critical 20C temperature increase. Global warming negatively impacts sea levels, increases temperatures and drives extremes in rainfall and drought, all of which have significant consequences on water: an extra 3.4 billion litres of water would be needed every day before 2050, on top of the 15 billion used now, if no changes are made.
Race to Zero
Progress is underway within our sector, which has been driven largely by the Heat and Buildings Strategy, the Route to Zero Routemap, the Future Homes Standard 2025, the recently launched Boiler Upgrade Scheme and together with the recent changes to Part L of the Building Regulations will mean all new domestic heating systems in England and Wales must now operate on lower flow temperatures. But with all new homes having to produce about 30% less carbon emissions from this year, we all need to be doing what we can now. At the recent BMA conference, it was evident that there is a step change taking place in the water management sector, enabling us to take charge of our own fight against climate change and make a positive impact on the environment.
Our most valuable resource
Water is at the heart of sustainable development and is vital for socio-economic growth, healthy ecosystems and for human survival itself. It is vital for reducing the global burden of disease and improving the health, welfare and productivity of populations. Water is also at the heart of adaptation to climate change and is the primary medium through which we will feel the effects of climate change. Without proper water management, there is likely to be increased competition for water between sectors and an escalation of water crises of various kinds, triggering emergencies in a range of water-dependent sectors. According to UNICEF, it’s forecast that by 2030, 700 million people could be displaced by water scarcity. Ensuring that everyone has access to sustainable clean water and sanitation services is a critical climate change mitigation strategy for the years ahead.
This trend is being accelerated by climate change because floods, droughts and heat all have a direct impact on the availability of water. Changing the way we use water will help strengthen our planet’s ecosystem and reduce the risk of extreme weather events that make water unpredictable, polluted, and more scarce. This could involve using less fresh water for showering, harvesting rainwater for growing crops or sanitation, or improving our systems for managing wastewater. In addition, using less warm water reduces greenhouse gas emissions because it avoids the need to generate energy to heat the water. By taking steps to consume less water, we can make sure water remains a human right – and does not become a luxury.
Water by numbers
There is a tendency to think that because water falls from the sky and because most of the Earth’s surface is water, that we will never run out. But most of the water on Earth is saltwater (more than 90%). Of the remaining 10%, most of it is locked away in glaciers, or on mountain tops. Only a fraction of water on Earth is drinkable and accessible. Today, around the world, 1 in 3 people live without safe drinking water and global demand is expected to increase by more than 50% by 2040. The Environment Agency reported in 2020 that there is a serious risk that parts of England will run out of water within 20 years.
The cost of lost water
According to Waterwise, the not for profit NGO, a leaking toilet wastes between 215 and 400 litres of clean drinking water on average every day. Between 5 and 8% of toilets are estimated to be leaking, adding up to around 400 million litres of water leaking from UK toilets every day. Against a backdrop of the climate crisis and the Road to Net Zero, losses like these are clearly unsustainable.
As manufacturers, it’s down to us to educate the supply chain and consumers
I was pleased to attend the recent BMA Conference, where they were laser focussed on favouring manufacturers to not only drive product innovation, but to also shift the supply chains mindset by under-pinning innovation with a strong sustainability message and this is a message we warmly endorse. If we don’t educate, how we can help mitigate climate change, consumers will keep requesting the same, less energy efficient products, with no guidance or alternatives offered by installers or merchants who will continue to supply what they’re asked for. This is a huge, missed opportunity.
The Champions of Water
Cistermiser has spent the last decade dedicated to innovating and providing products that help FMs, local authorities, health trusts and building owners significantly lower the carbon footprint of their buildings.
Most recently, we’ve launched a solution which tackles head-on our sector’s challenge of Leaky Loos. The introduction of the EasyFlushEVO range is set to revolutionise WC flushing by bringing together previously unattainable benefits of non-touch and leak-free flushing. The patented siphon flush design means there is no flush seal below the waterline, so unlike traditional flush valves, it will not leak due to debris, scale or seal degradation. The EasyFlushEVO is calculated to save up to 78,475 litres of water per unit per annum. Although it may not single-handedly solve the water wastage problem, it goes a long way to raising standards and is just one of the many highly innovative approaches we’ve taken to help address this industry-wide problem.
“As we introduce EasyflushEVO to the market, sustainability remains a key consideration: the role that efficient water solutions can play in the fight against climate change has never been more important. As a nation, we can wait for the inevitable tighter legislation and societal pressure. But the team here at Cistermiser, are passionate about making a positive impact now. That’s why we are engaging with the entire supply chain to continually innovate, educate and promote the great work being done by the water management sector.
And it’s why our mantra is: From Tank to Tap, Our World Is Water.
Guest blog provided by www.cistermiser.co.uk