A new water supplier has entered the non-household retail market with a business model it claims will be a ‘gamechanger’ for the industry.
The Alternative Water Company will design, build, maintain boreholes at, and supply water from, underground water sources which exist on the properties of large customers. It claims that, by doing so, it will be able to undercut incumbent water suppliers by as much as 25 per cent.
The firm’s director Graham Mann said there are thousands of boreholes that have been drilled but are no longer used, along with millions of cubic metres of untapped resources.
By effectively taking customers “off the grid”, the Alternative Water Company is looking to strip £30-50 million out of the English water retail market over the next five years.
“A lot of companies are going off the grid with electricity and gas,” Mann told WWT’s sister title Utility Week. “And now they can do so with water.”
Water will be treated at source, with treatment depending on the quality of the water abstracted. Mann insisted that the water supplied will be of the required high quality drinking water standard, and may even be of “superior quality” as it will not have to travel far through pipes.
Meanwhile the firm – which will target large water users such as hotels and hospitals – does not need a water supply and sewerage licence in order to operate, and it doesn’t need to put in a huge amount of additional infrastructure. All it has to pay to maintain is the borehole pumps and the onsite treatment equipment.
The company will also offer sewerage services, treating the sewage on a customer’s site and returning it straight to the environment, rather than via water company sewers, which Mann said will mean further “substantial savings”.
The Alternative Water Company began trading in March 2016, and said it already has a number of customers on board. It is a subsidiary of water auditor H2O Building Services, which offers customers advice on how to save water and money.