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Joined: 01 Dec 2004
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Location: Leeds
PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 05 8:42 am    Post subject: Cutting down on water use...  Reply with quote    

Defra Press release


Water users are to be the focus of an action plan to encourage households to reduce consumption and use water more efficiently.

The plan has been produced by the Water Saving Group, a new body which met this week for the first time and which brings together all the major players in the water sector. Publication of the plan today demonstrates a commitment to joint action on an unprecedented scale.

The Group’s members include the Environment Agency, Ofwat, the Consumer Council for Water, Water UK, Defra, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and waterwise, the water industry’s new water saving body. The chair is Environment Minister Elliot Morley.

Commenting on the plan and the role of the Water Saving Group, Mr Morley said:

“Consumers are aware that water is not an infinite resource and we want to build on that awareness to influence their behaviour. We are already facing potential water supply problems in the south of the country after prolonged dry weather but the real challenges are over the longer term, particularly as we experience the effects of climate change. The uncomfortable reality is that we can no longer assume unlimited supplies of water in all circumstances.

“The Water Saving Group’s role is to bring key players together to identify and implement solutions. The Government made a manifesto commitment to create a water saving body, and I believe the best way of delivering results is through this high level group. Between them its members have an enormous range of experience and skills, and an impressive resolve.

“No single course of action can ensure the security of the water supply, and this initiative is not an alternative to addressing other issues such as the problem of leakage - it is an additional effort to safeguard the sustainability of our water resources. We are cracking on with finding solutions to an increasingly serious issue.”

With one third of all domestic water supplies disappearing down the toilet, and another third used for baths, showers and washing machines, the action plan is relevant across England, but recognises the significant regional variation in water supply and will target water stressed areas.

The projects outlined in the first draft of this evolving document cover:

• Customer perceptions and awareness
• Best practice in promoting water efficiency
• Information gaps, priorities and funding
• The policy and regulatory framework
• Measuring success

Barbara Young, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency said

“Our water is in limited supply yet domestic water use is rising. We need to act now to protect our future.

“We cannot simply build our way of out trouble through increased reservoirs. With 35% of household water going down the toilet we need to make the community understand the true value of water and provide them with incentives to conserve it.

“This means actively providing clear information on how to save water. It means removing hurdles to water efficient buildings and appliances through water fitting and building regulations, a sustainable building code and appliance standards and labelling.

“Most importantly, it means providing incentives to change behaviour by clearly costing water through water metering in areas of water stress.”

Philip Fletcher, Director General of Water Services (Ofwat), said

“We welcome the formation of this group and the actions proposed. It is essential that cost effective measures to improve water efficiency are targeted where they are most needed.

“Increased metering, particularly in the water stressed areas is a vital part of any programme of measures. Until customers pay for the water they use they will not save money when they save water”.

Says Jacob Tompkins, Director of waterwise

“Water use in many parts of the UK is unsustainable. It is clear that we need to look urgently at developing new supplies, but more importantly we need to look at increasing water efficiency. Water efficiency isn’t about constraining lifestyles, but using technology and education to improve living spaces and add value to the built environment. The Water Saving Group is a great initiative and waterwise is committed to help deliver its ambitious action plan.”

Pamela Taylor, Chief Executive of Water UK said

"We're very pleased to take part in this joint activity to help water customers get the best value from their supply. More and more people realise they shouldn't take water for granted. If it works the new group will make it easier for everyone to use water wisely."

Notes for Editors

1. The high level Water Saving Group will meet every six months to review progress on what has been delivered and discuss new initiatives.

2. Between each meeting officials from all the organisations represented at the WSG will work together to carry forward the actions agreed at the high level meeting.

3. Other action is being taken to address water scarcity, for example dealing with over-abstraction from rivers and leakage from water supply pipes, and the development of new resources.


Joined: 25 May 2005
Posts: 2595

PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 05 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Thank you for posting, Behemoth. Wasteful water usage is a particular bugbear for me (oh yes one of MANY! ) so I shall watch this with interest.

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