NOTTINGHAMSHIRE County Council has saved council taxpayers more than £640,000 by pulling the plug on wasted water - and is advising residents to do their bit to save the precious resource.
In the last two years, the county council has saved the cash through a variety of new measures to save water, get leaks fixed and chase rebates for inaccurate bills at council buildings in the county.
The council uses over 715,000 cubic metres of water every year - which is the equivalent of nearly 300 Olympic-size swimming pools and enough to meet the annual needs of around 7,000 average UK households.
The supply and treatment of water for its buildings costs the council around £660,000 per year, and Nottinghamshire schools a further £1m per year.
To improve water efficiency and drive down bills, the council has been working with water management firm, ADSM to identify ways to install quick payback water saving measures in its buildings, ensure sites are billed accurately and at the best possible tariffs, get refunds where water suppliers have overcharged and identify and fix leaks quickly.
By the end of December 2012, the project had already delivered the council savings of over £642,000 - made up of £147,000 at school buildings and £495,000 at non-school buildings.
Phil Keynes, manager of the Energy and Carbon Management Team at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “With growing uncertainty about weather patterns and the availability of water to the extent we’ve enjoyed in the past, it’s important that everyone ensures they only use what they need to.
“The same applies whether you are a big organisation with lots of buildings like the county council, or an individual householder.
“The county council has saved a lot of water and money through simple measures, such as encouraging council employees to use water wisely, report dripping taps or plumbing faults and making small adaptations. Many of the measures we’ve introduced can also be applied in the home.”
Water company Severn Trent is also advising its customers to be sensible with their water usage.
Some simple water and money saving measure people can use in their own home include:
Turning the tap off when brushing your teeth - running the tap wastes over six litres of water per minute.
If you’re buying a new toilet, go for a water efficient model or one with a dual flush. For existing toilets put a hippo in your cistern to reduce the water used with each flush.
Fix dripping taps - they waste an average of 5,500 litres of water a year, costing you more than £18 per tap.
Wait until you have a full load of clothes before using your washing machine - it will use less water than two half-loads.
Be ready to deal with any leaks to kitchen pipes or the dishwasher hose by knowing where your main stop valve is, so you can turn it off and cut the flow.
Watch what you flush. Avoid putting items like cotton-balls and make-up tissues down the toilet. Put them in the bin and save the water wasted by an unnecessary flush.