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Client Journey


Project 20×20 Sustainability Plan – 50% relative water reduction
Location Nationwide
Classification Water Management / Water Strategy
Sector Retail


Sainsbury’s is a pioneer in environmental thinking and evolved their approach through a 20×20 Sustainability Plan. Sainsbury’s engaged water efficiency specialist Waterscan, as part of this progressive strategy to help meet its challenging target to reduce stores water usage by 50% relative to m2 sales floor area against their 05/06 baseline.

With key industry peers only targeting up to a 30% reduction at best, Sainsbury’s set by far the most stretching target in the sector equating to circa 1,000,000m3 of water, which is the average annual consumption of approximately 230 supermarkets.


1,000,000m3  Total annual consumption savings versus 05/06 baseline

345,000m3  Leak repair consumption savings over 345,000m3

1,000 tonnes CO2e  Circa Scope 3 carbon emissions prevented (Water Suppliers)

600+  AMR installs

100+  Car wash water reclaim unit installs

550+  Low flow spray tap installs

The project

Sainsburys supermarketThe project was implemented through three key stages. Stage one involved establishing Sainsbury’s current consumption through the use of AMRs linked to Waterline©, a unique online water management system, and comparing it to the billing data. This provided a systematic way of achieving accurate cost and consumption information whilst also benchmarking Sainsbury’s stores versus an industry standard.

The second stage focused on identifying opportunities for savings through five key areas; high consumption sites, water audits, water leaks, surface water drainage and AMR. Water audits were carried out by Waterscan’s technicians to identify areas of over consumption and the potential for water saving projects.

The third stage involved implementing solutions to address inefficiencies:

  • Installing water efficiency technologies such as waterless urinals, low flow toilets, percussion taps, rainwater harvesting and reclaimed water car washes
  • 24 hour leak response team minimised water wastage
  • Design specification of rainwater harvesting systems as standard in all new builds to reduce mains water usage


“We have achieved our target of a 50% relative reduction in water use through working with Waterscan to deliver a number of water saving measures that form part of our 20×20 Sustainability Plan. This includes eradicating underground leaks, the installation of the latest water efficient technology, and investing in rainwater harvesting for all new stores as standard.

We continue to improve with our Weymouth and Leicester stores being ‘self-sufficient’ in water by offsetting potable water demand through sponsored water saving initiatives in the local community.”

Paul Crewe
Head of Sustainability, Engineering, Energy and Environment