Waterwise and policy
All of Waterwise’s objectives have a key policy angle. Waterwise works closely with government, regulators, policy-makers and NGOs across the United Kingdom to make sure government policy and the regulatory framework drive - and mainstream - water efficiency. For example, rules governing the building of homes and business premises, regulatory approaches to how water companies can spend their money, and policies on increasing metering in the UK can all make it easier for us to waste less water.
Waterwise is acknowledged as the leading authority on water efficiency by government and regulators, and is regularly quoted by them, with a reputation for innovative policy solutions.
In England, Waterwise sat on the Water Minister’s Water Saving Group alongside the water industry and its regulators. As part of this work, we developed an Evidence Base for Large-Scale Water Efficiency in homes, for use in the 2009 Price Review, and in Water Resource Management Plans. Phase II of the Evidence Base examined Water Efficiency Retrofitting in Schools. Phase III is already producing reports on increasing uptake of retrofitting programmes and customer response to retrofit devices. The Evidence Base is funded by Defra, Ofwat and the Environment Agency.
Waterwise set up and now co-convenes the Saving Water in Scotland Network which includes members of Scottish Water, the Parliament, the Executive, regulators, business, consumer representatives and NGOs.
In June 2010 we published our Waterwise White Paper. Targeted at the new UK Government and Parliament, the White Paper had mainstreaming water efficiency at its core. In it, we set out strategic proposals for climate change adaptation and mitigation, resource efficiency, the low carbon and green economy and the big society, over the five years from 2010 to 2015.
Many of our early policy arguments are now appearing in government documents - such as including water efficiency in the Green Deal, acknowledgement of the bias towards capital expenditure in the water industry, the need for water efficiency to play a role in the green economy and in adaptation to climate change, and recognition that there is evidence that large-scale water efficiency works (not least through our Evidence Base work).
Waterwise sits on government groups, regularly provides policy comment through presentations and the media, responds to consultations across the UK, and gives evidence to Select Committee enquiries.