Major users call fo better data and regulation to support water efficiency effort

If big businesses are to be expected to reduce how much water they consume, they will need policy and regulatory motivation, and better baseline metering data.

That was the message to emerge from a focus group of major water consumers, hosted by the Major Energy Users’ Council in partnership with infrastructure research specialist, Accent.

The participants agreed large water users should contribute to national efforts to ensure there is enough water to meet demand going forwards. But said using water more efficiently is not currently a priority and there are many barriers preventing it becoming one – notably the cheap cost of water and the poor quality of the data available on current usage.

To get around these hurdles, big business customers said they will need much higher quality consumption data than is currently available. Drawing on their experience of the energy market, a number of participants argued policy and regulation would also be needed to set and enforce water efficiency expectations on the market, as well as to force data quality improvement and simplify the structure of water costs.

The customers rejected the idea of tariff-based motivators to reduce usage, arguing these are simply not feasible while consumption data quality remains poor.