Waterwise has published a summary of its emerging position on Defra’s consultation on measures to reduce personal water use. This includes recommendations on building regulations, retrofit, labelling, metering, incentives, water reuse and barriers to behaviour change.
A single national minimum standard of 100 litres per person per day should be “adopted nationally immediately” with a commitment to reduce it to at least 95 lpd by 2030. (The current minimum standard is for 125 litres per person per day with an optional requirement of 110 litres per person per day)
“Given that around 80% of England’s housing stock in 2050 has already been built it is vital that government work with water companies, local authorities and others to run retrofit programmes, which we would like to see such focus particularly on social housing and on those with known affordability issues.” These should be linked to energy and carbon goals.
A mandatory water label for water using products should be introduced.
Full universal metering (preferably smart meters) should be implemented across England, with linked affordability policies.
A variety of personal motivations – environmental, financial and community – should be tapped into through incentives.
Rainwater harvesting and water reuse
On a cost benefit basis, community scale schemes are preferred over individual level schemes.
Barriers to behaviour change: Waterwise cited insufficient information on personal water use and water scarcity, plus that many people already consider themselves to be water efficient. It called for a a cross sector, collaborative approach to raise awareness of the need for greater water efficiency and how it can be achieved.
Waterwise flagged the need to incentivise business water efficiency through the retail market; called for greater effort to be made to address the 5-8% of dual flush toilets that are leaking; and would like to see research undertaken to assess the level of personal use of water outside the home not included in the current PCC figures.