Household water use could be halved with no impact on quality of life says report

UK household water consumption could be more than halved over the next 50 years with no detriment to “the level of utility or quality of water,” according to a recent report by Ofwat. But the cost of doing so was “outside the scope of this project.”

The regulator’s conclusions in a study of options to reduce demand for water by 2065 included the assertion that “technologies and services exist now that can deliver these savings if implemented more widely.”

It said It was possible to achieve an average daily household consumption of between 50 to 70l a person by 2065; current daily consumption per person is running at about 140l/day. The report – which was produced for Ofwat by Artesia Consulting – found that the observation that tackling household leaks and using innovative technologies could help to decrease water usage by two thirds

The report, The long term potential for deep reductions in household water demand, included the finding that “tackling household leaks and using innovative technologies could help to decrease water usage by two thirds” over the 50 year period considered.

“The main way in which water companies have met rising demand in the past has been through measures including taking more water from the environment and building infrastructure to store it. However, new solutions are now needed to avoid the potential environmental and structural problems of the previous approach,” said Ofwat.

The report called for “strong leadership” to steer “water companies, government, regulators, the supply chain, academia, innovators and others” to work in concert.

It called also for all domestic properties to be metered to influence customer behaviour and reform in planning rules to require water efficiency in new developments and making performance data openly available to bring on “innovation in services and technologies”

Ofwat’s senior director of Strategy and Planning, John Russell, said: “With a fifty-year time horizon, we can afford to look beyond the current constraints, to think about the deep reductions that consumers could make, if we all work together.”

A recent water efficiency strategy for the UK published by consultancy, Waterwise,featured in the Ofwat report. Waterwise’s managing director, Nicci Russel, said: “We should get the basics right too – we shouldn't be fitting or selling products that leak or waste water. We look forward to working with government and the sector to set an ambitious target for England and Wales."