Protecting profit margins and staying open for business with complete water insight

Water is critical to all business operations but, for retailers, a supply interruption, leak or flood closes the doors early on a day’s trading, affecting revenue, customer loyalty and reputation. Food preparation areas, staff canteens, customer cafes and toilets all need a reliable water supply.

Understanding your water consumption, its risks and opportunities, gives you greater control over the operational resilience of your retail premises and wider logistics operations while reducing risks to the health and wellbeing of your staff and customers. You’ll also achieve efficiencies that will accelerate your progress to net zero.

How we can help


On the face of it, the retail sector may not appear to use a lot of water in comparison to others but keeping stores open depends on the constant availability of water. Dig deeper into agricultural and industrial supply chains and the impacts of drought and flooding on product availability and cost come into sight.

Future proofing

Around 28 million properties are connected to the UK’s public water supply network, and demand is increasing. An extra 25% of our current water volume will be needed each day by 2050. The need to improve water efficiency is clear to future-proof our businesses.


We work with our customers to provide good quality data, which helps them analyse, gain insight, plan for and ultimately achieve the best results for their business and for the environment. Not only this, but it allows our customers to reduce consumption, identify leaks early on, query bills which all leads to them saving money.

Common issues

Retailers are always in the spotlight. As high-profile businesses, you are under constant pressure to set an example and push the boundaries of creativity, efficiency and responsibility. Coupled with increasing legislation, governance and stakeholder demands, there is no room for complacency in any retail operation when it comes to managing resources effectively.

Water is often overlooked as an opportunity for efficiency, cost savings and reputation-building innovation. More than that, it supports other goals because water and energy are closely linked. Operational emissions from the water industry account for nearly 1% of the UK’s total carbon emissions. Reducing your water use will therefore reduce your carbon footprint.

What we’ve helped clients achieve

Our retail customers have seen significant improvements in the way they utilise water, thanks to our tailored strategy and ongoing support in water management.

Savings of £5.2 million

Out of town retail customer savings of £5.2 million and in excess of 1Mm3 of water.

280,000m3 of water

High street retail customer savings of £1 million and in excess of 280,000m3 of water.

Customer testimonials

In 2020, we made the decision to Self-Supply our water in England and now 99.5% of our eligible supply points have transitioned to this model. This is having a big impact on driving efficiency. There was a real gap in our water data, but we now have the most frequent meter reads that we’ve ever had so we can delve into this and begin accurate benchmarking and planning. It has also enabled us to reduce the number of long-unread meters across our estate significantly to just 24 meters, some of which are at vacant sites.

Sophie Coley

Sophie Coley, Group Utilities Manager, J Sainsbury’s PLC.

Latest retail industry insights

Boots to Self-Supply water

Boots to Self-Supply water

Boots has been granted a Water and Sewerage Self-Supply licence (WSSL) by industry regulator, Ofwat. With 2,200 stores across the UK, Boots has partnered with Waterscan to facilitate the licence application and to manage the transition to Self-Supply.

Sainsbury’s awards Waterscan as Strategic Partner for Sustainability

Sainsbury’s awards Waterscan as Strategic Partner for Sustainability

In recognition of the proactive, expert support that it provides, Waterscan has been awarded the accolade of Sainsbury’s Strategic Partner for Sustainability.

Driving efficiencies and championing water stewardship

Driving efficiencies and championing water stewardship

In May 2022, Waterscan and J Sainsbury’s plc hosted a working lunch for energy and sustainability managers to demonstrate how the responsible retailer is approaching best-in-class water stewardship.

Sainsbury’s water journey

Sainsbury’s water journey

Take a look at Sainsbury’s water journey so far.

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

Get in touch with one of our experts now.