Water savings flood in for Scottish public sector

27/06/2023
Jo Dow (CEO of Business Stream)

SCOTLAND’S largest water retailer has saved the country’s public sector a record £2.85million over the course of the last year, taking total savings over three years to £6.4million.

Business Stream has supported public sector organisations across the country, including NHS Scotland, Scottish Fire and Rescue, Police Scotland and the Scottish Government with leak detection, water efficiency and smart monitoring services as part of a three-year contract.

As a result of the retailer’s activities, the sector has also saved more than 1.365 billion litres of water over the past year, equivalent to the volume of 546 Olympic swimming pools. 

This in turn has delivered energy savings reducing 574,778 kg of carbon – comparable to removing 438 single passenger flights from Edinburgh to New York. 

Jo Dow, Chief Executive of Business Stream, said: “We’re really pleased to have delivered significant savings for Scotland’s public sector again this year. 

“Our experience in working with the sector has allowed us to develop a suite of services and solutions that are helping the sector to reduce costs, save time and generate environmental efficiencies.  We’re looking forward to delivering further savings in the year ahead”. 

Through constantly striving to improve efficiency and service, the 350-strong water retailer has increased public sector savings year-on-year, from £1.4 million in 2021 to £2.2 million in 2022.

As one of the largest water retailers in the UK, Business Stream was awarded the Scottish Government Public Sector Water and Waste Water Framework contract in early 2020. The contract, worth around £200 million over three years, also includes the Scottish Prison Service, universities and colleges and local authorities. In 2022, Business Stream was awarded an additional one-year extension to the contract, which is currently underway. 

A spokesperson from the Scottish Procurement and Property Directorate utilities team, said: “Business Stream has continued to work with the public sector to identify water efficiency opportunities. 

“This pro-active approach has reduced water consumption and provided financial savings for public sector customers of the Water and Waste Water Framework. Reducing cost and carbon impact is essential for supporting Scotland’s green economic recovery and helping us on our journey to a Net Zero Nation.”

The water retailer recently announced it had delivered £50,000 of funding to six public sector initiatives through its annual Public Sector Scotland (PSS) Water Efficiency Fund.

This year’s successful candidates of the Fund include a Heriot-Watt University initiative to install a water chiller unit to cool, condense and recirculate used water; the installation of modern, electronic low-flow taps at Glasgow Caledonian University; and the fitting of waterless urinals and aerator tap technology at Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University.

Jo added: “The Water Efficiency Fund plays a key role in identifying and funding innovative ways to minimise water waste and generate efficiency savings. Our investment in these projects highlights our commitment to supporting Scotland’s public sector.”

Originally created in 2006 to offer best in class water services to businesses in Scotland, Business Stream later acquired the non-household customer base of Southern Water ahead of the planned opening of the English retail water market.

That market change in 2017 paved the way for 1.2 million businesses and public bodies in England to be able to choose their water supplier. In 2019 Business Stream acquired the customer base of its competitors Yorkshire Water Business Services (YWBS) and Three-Sixty, doubling its market share. 

Business Stream has its HQ in Edinburgh, as well as a presence in Worthing, West Sussex and in Bradford, West Yorkshire. It is guided by its ambitious vision to make a positive difference to its customers, its people, the environment and local communities.

Since launching that vision in 2019, the retailer has introduced more than 30 initiatives, including a 20% water efficiency pledge to help customers reduce water usage. It has also invested in a tree-planting programme which has delivered an additional 10,000 trees in Scotland.


The savings success comes after Business Stream recently halved its carbon emissions in just one year, exceeding the retailer’s pledge to cut emissions by 20% over the same period.

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