Waterwise unveils pan-industry efficiency plan after UK cities' woeful showing

Waterwise has launched a “blueprint for a water-efficient UK” in its Water Efficiency Strategy that includes calls on on water companies and regulators to up their game in promoting water efficiency.

The strategy, said Waterwise, “will help all of us aim high on water efficiency” following a report last year that placed London 34, Birmingham 28, and Manchester 26 out of 50 major cities for water efficiency. Copenhagen ranked first.

Waterwise’s key recommendations and actions include:

● a national water efficiency communication platform, and more research on

developing a water-saving culture;

● water companies should scale up ambition and innovation in their water efficiency

programmes with customers

● regulators should ensure their high ambition for water efficiency is reflected in their

analysis of company plans

The publication of the strategy follows a consultation exercise Waterwise held between November 2016 and January 2017. A Water Efficiency Strategy Steering Group supported by Water UK has been formed to push forward delivery of the actions - chaired by Anglian Water’s executive director of strategic growth and resilience and sector resilience leader, Jean Spencer.

Speaking at the launch only days after announcing a maximum penalty for Thames Water under its ODI incentives for leakage, Ofwat chief executive Cathryn Ross said: "It’s really clear that far more ambitious water efficiency will need to be a key part of how the water sector delivers resilient and affordable services to its customers, now and in the future."

Waterwise’s managing director, Nicci Russell said: “We need more innovation and ambition, and I’m really delighted that partners across the sector have agreed actions to help us deliver our strategy. In coming decades, we’re going to be kicking ourselves if we’ve only dabbled in wasting less water.

Spencer added: ‘Water will be one of the defining issues of this century. Water crises are the third biggest global risk and 40 per cent of the global population will be living in areas of severe water stress by 2050. In the UK ¨†The Water Resources Long Term Planning Framework published last year showed that future droughts are likely to be more serious and will affect all parts of the country, so it’s vital water leaders unite on this topic. Innovative solutions and collaboration are essential.