How to limit water interruptions' impact on your business today

Graphic of a building filling with waterWater leaks at business sites - small and large - are more common than you may think and can cause damage and shutdowns

Latest research shows more than 20% of businesses have had a water issue at their site, causing interruptions and, in some cases, stopping operations.

More than a third (39%) of businesses questioned also said they were not monitoring their water use, even when this can show where issues and risks are. 

Even though we all know it’s important – and even with the extra handwashing due to Covid-19 - water can be low on risk lists for organisations. 

Now, it’s even more important to limit those risks - so you can keep open and operating and there’s a few steps that will help.

How you can help protect your business

Should your site have a leak and – in extreme cases – suffer an interruption to its water supply, it’s crucial to have a site plan in place to ensure day-to-day operations aren’t badly affected.

Pipe leakingAny contingency plan should include details on how much water you will need and ensuring sourcing replacement water is as quick as possible. It’s important to let your staff know about the plan so whoever is on-site knows what to do and they can highlight any leaks or water issues they spot too.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that if there is an interruption or burst on the wholesaler network in your area, then Category 1 sensitive sites such as hospitals, will be given priority for repairs or emergency water deliveries should supply disruptions occur. 

More important information

Learn more about how to reduce risks to your business here.
For smaller and medium-sized organisations, there’s more information on what to include in a water emergency plan here.

Our team is here and can help multi-site organisations and those with complex water needs with contingency plans for sites and how best to get emergency water supplies into your water network safely and efficiently, as it’s sadly not always as simple as just ordering a tanker to make a delivery. Find out more about our Advanced Services or contact the team at  

Remember, as well as having a water emergency plan, it’s important to regularly check your water use – at least once a month, if your water meter is safe to access. You can see any unexpected jumps in consumption that can indicate a leak on-site and have a recent meter reading to hand if you need to update a bill based on estimated use. 

If you’re with Water Plus and have access to the MyAccount portal, you can submit a meter reading online 24/7 to help update your account and future bills. 

What the survey found

Amongst the survey questions, businesses were asked if they had a water issue on-site including a leak or burst pipe since July 2019.* 

Here’s some of the main findings: 

The proportion of firms to have an issue with their water supply at their site
-    16% of large UK firms have had to stop operations due to problems with their water supply on-site since July 2019, with 8% shutting their workplaces for more than an hour.
-    In comparison, 7% of small businesses (that employ 10 to 49 people) suffered issues such as costly leaks or burst pipes that caused them to close their site over the same period. 
-    Overall, 21% of UK firms suffered an on-site issue with their water supply with 10% stopping their operation and 6% shutting their workplaces for more than an hour.

How many businesses monitor their water usage?
-    39% of UK companies in the survey said they don’t monitor water usage, leaving them open to the threat of costly undetected leaks.
-    While 46% of large firms track their usage, only 23% of microbusinesses (that employ less than 10 people) and 42% of small businesses (that employ 10 to 49 people) have the processes and technology in place to do so.
-    Companies in retail (42%), IT and telecoms (42%) and media (43%) are least likely to monitor how much water they use.

Tap drippingWhich companies have a water emergency plan in place?
-    Just 35% of large UK companies have a water emergency plan in place to support them in tackling a supply interruption at their site.
-    Only 17% of construction firms and 19% of hospitality businesses and 28% of manufacturers have steps in place to mitigate a burst pipe in their buildings, an on-site water issue, or water main leak on the network outside a boundary of a business. 
-    Overall, just 21% of UK businesses have a plan in place.

Thinking about how you can use water more effectively at your business and reduce waste and operating costs? Check out steps to consider taking in the future.

For further tips and information for all organisations, including what to keep in mind if your business is open and payment options to support businesses, if you’re impacted by Covid-19 restrictions - whether you are in England or Scotland, check out our pages here: steps we are taking to help reduce the impact of Covid-19 and water tips whether you're closed or open.

*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,099 Senior Decision Makers. Fieldwork was undertaken between 27th October - 2nd November 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of British business size.
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