• by Trevor Loveday

Scientists search for ways to halve water consumption in homes by 2050

Updated: Jun 18

Engineers have embarked on a water industry-funded study into ways to halve freshwater abstractions in a sustainable way by 2050. The researchers will seek to make recommendations on how companies can more accurately estimate current and predict future household water use.

The study, backed by the water sector’s research group, UK Water Industry Research (UKWIR), will seek to address the “limited availability of detailed household water use data.”

It will, according to UKWIR programme lead, Paul Merchant, delve into data on the components of household consumption including garden watering, leaks and plumbing losses. He pointed out that available data is often “only accessible to individual water companies who analyse it in different ways to each other.”

The project, which is overseen by a steering group comprising water company members, the Environment Agency, Water UK and Waterwise, is “expected to provide greater understanding of how socio-demographic factors influence water use, and allow greater collaboration and consistency to tackling sector-wide issues.”

“This project will bring together everything we know so far about household water use and give us both the detail, and the bigger picture, we need on how best to tackle and reduce it,” said Merchant.

The study: Improving understanding of current and future household water use is led by engineering and environmental hydraulics firm HR Wallingford. It is scheduled for completion in November 2020 when UKWIR will disseminate the findings and “outline the recommendations for how water companies should respond.”