Food and drink manufacturing

Improving performance through water insight and management

Water is often a key ingredient in the production of food and drink. Supply or quality issues can have significant impacts not only on the product itself but also on revenue and customer satisfaction.

Optimal management of water will ensure you keep product costs down, remain compliant with trade effluent legislation and minimise your impact on the local water environment in which you operate.

How we can help

Financial control

In the 2022-23 charging year there were over 90 trade effluent tariff codes in the market. This complexity and lack of direct wholesaler relationship can lead to a loss of control on trade effluent charges, we can help you regain that control and certainty over charges.


Trade effluent charges vary greatly from £0.25/m3 to £3.80. We make sure your charges accurately represent what you should be paying based on the actual effluent being discharged. Avoiding significant incorrect charges and impacts on profitability.


Understanding your water consumption and effluent, through good quality data, improves your businesses efficiency and resilience whilst accelerating your progress to net zero. It helps you to understand the risks and opportunities, which will safeguard your plant and logistics operations in the long-term.

Common issues

A common issue our customers face is incorrect billing, which is costing companies substantially more financially. Ofwat’s retail market review 2021-22 highlighted 77% of complaints in the English market relate to billing issues.


Trade effluent is a complex and highly variable area of water management affecting the manufacturing sector. A range of factors from applying for consents, market set up, validating costs, reporting breaches and requesting temporary discharge consents make this a challenging aspect of water to control.

Supply consistency and quality is a key concern, one which the manufacturer has historically managed directly with their local wholesaler. In the new market, manufacturers are one step removed from wholesalers leading to a lack of information around potential supply interruptions and water quality issues.

What we’ve helped clients achieve

Food and drink manufacturing clients have seen massive changes in the way they utilise water, thanks to our tailored strategy and ongoing support in water management.

£2.7 million in refunds

Received in excess of £2.7 million in refunds in 2022, largely due to incorrect billing which was highlighted during our validation processes.

Obtained 50 refunds

In a three year period, we obtained 50 refunds relating to trade effluent totalling £1.17 million. One correction at a manufacturing site achieved a refund of £220,000 and an ongoing saving of £67,000.

1,179,921m³ reduction

Water consumption reduction across all sectors of over 1,179,921 m³. In a water intensive industry like manufacturing, consumption reductions can have significant impacts across your business.

Customer testimonials

Water is a hugely important ingredient in all our drinks and we have long had a commitment to manage this precious resource carefully. The deregulation of the water industry in the UK is an exciting development and opens up opportunities for us to work with the most innovative water suppliers, those who share our passion for managing water supply and treatment in the most sustainable way.

Head of Sustainability

Coca-Cola European Partners, Great Britain.

Latest food & drink manufacturing industry insights

Water matters: Insights for the manufacturing sector

Water matters: Insights for the manufacturing sector

At this tipping point, when water scarcity impacts our daily lives, it will be too late, far too late; especially for manufacturers, who rely on secure, consistent water supplies and effective, compliant effluent management to function.

Arla acts on water efficiency as it moooves to self-supply

Arla acts on water efficiency as it moooves to self-supply

The UK’s number one dairy company, Arla has been granted a licence to self-supply water by market regulator Ofwat.

Self-Supply set to transform water procurement

Self-Supply set to transform water procurement

Ofwat has granted water self-supply licences (WSSLs) to John Lewis PLC and Kellogg’s in a move that will see self-supply operable in two new commercial sectors: retail and food manufacturing.

Self-Supply applauded for driving change in drinks manufacturing

Self-Supply applauded for driving change in drinks manufacturing

Marston’s Brewery and Greene King have been judged as the two companies in the drinks sector that are making the biggest impact in the sustainable use of water, both with the support of Waterscan.

With water under control,
it’s time to make things happen.

Get in touch with one of our experts now.