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Our new single supplier contract for water and wastewater services forms part of our focus on how we consume water across our operational estate and what steps we can take to control it.

We have awarded our contract to Wave via a framework agreement with The Energy Consortium (TEC). TEC is a not for profit organisation and has a wealth of experience in on-boarding establishments such as us with new suppliers and we are looking forward to the expertise they will bring.

It is widely accepted that relative to the rest of the UK, Cambridge is in a water scarce region. Water consumption contributes to our scope 3 carbon emissions too, as suppliers need to abstract and treat the water we consume and then pump it around their supply networks, which uses energy- some of which is carbon based. So, reducing consumption will reduce our emissions too. You can read more about what scope 3 emissions are on our Glossary page. 

Before we make a concerted effort to tackle consumption we need to understand better what we are consuming. This joined up approach means wastewater bills will be based on actual meter reads of water consumption rather than ongoing estimates and rebilling. Dedicated account management from both Wave and TEC will help solve issues quicker and allow us to focus beyond the financial.

As part of the new contract, we are planning to install automated meter reading devices on our highest consuming sites. This data will help with profiling use and potential leakage detection e.g. higher than expected consumption during low occupancy periods.

In parallel, recently we trialled water audit services at the Vet School. We look forward to receiving the findings and recommendations and once we have assessed these, we will consider rolling these out at other sites. Also, we are seeking a consultant to help baseline our consumption across our operational estate and help us work towards an evidence based consumption target.

Changing behaviour and just using less as an individual both personally and in the workplace, where it does not compromise on productivity and health and safety, will contribute to such a target too.

Written by: Max Shone, Assistant Energy Manager