Waterwise welcomes government product label to help save water Press Release, 1st July 2021

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Influential campaigning organisation Waterwise today welcomed Defra’s announcement of a mandatory water efficiency label for products. Waterwise – whose vision is that water is used wisely every day, everywhere – supports and challenges everyone in the UK to be ambitious on water efficiency.

Nathan Richardson, Waterwise Head of Strategy and Policy, said:

‘Waterwise is pleased to see Defra publishing a long-awaited response to the 2019 consultation on policy measures to reduce personal water use. In particular, we welcome the commitment to introduce a mandatory water efficiency label on domestic and business water-using products. Research has shown this is the single most cost-effective policy measure the government can take to help reduce water consumption (1).

‘We do feel the government needs to be more ambitious in terms of ensuring that new developments and existing buildings are water efficient and so we welcome the commitment by government to publish a roadmap in 2022 setting out what more it, and others, will do to achieve this, including to accommodate adoption of water-saving technologies like rainwater harvesting and water reuse (2).’

Nicci Russell, Waterwise Managing Director, said:

‘We’re delighted that the UK government has decided to take forward a mandatory label for water-using products in businesses and homes – the water efficiency community has been waiting for this for a long time. This will help all of us save water, energy and money – it’ll help us adapt to climate change by making the increasingly scarce water right across the UK go further; it’ll help us tackle net zero carbon by reducing the energy used to heat water and to pump and treat it; and it’ll help bring bills down. Our research with the Energy Saving Trust showed that in England over 27 litres can be knocked off our average daily water use per person of 142 litres, by combining a label with product and building standards. Similar levels of water savings have been found in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The idea is that if we can see the impact of what we’re buying, we’ll buy differently. I know I will! Crucially, a mandatory label will also help water companies and others ensure more water is left in the environment.

‘We look forward to the roadmap on how both new and existing homes will be made water-efficient – this is crucial and needs to be ambitious because just as we’ve doubled the amount of water we all use per head in the UK in the last 60 years, we’re going to need to halve it again at some point, before it becomes an emergency. This is why we also want water efficiency to be factored into government economic, energy and carbon policies. And we also need a smart meter for every home as water companies are already showing what a game-changer this is, and combined with a label, it will massively help. We seriously need customers to know how much water they’re using!’

‘I’m really proud of how collaboratively the government and the water efficiency community have worked to move this agenda on.’

Notes for Editors:

Waterwise is an independent not-for-profit campaigning organisation, and the leading authority on water efficiency in the UK. Our vision is that water will be used wisely, every day, everywhere. We receive funding from Waterwise Supporters and Affiliates across the UK, and from sponsorship, research and delivery projects. Please contact nathan.richardson@waterwise.org.uk with any queries.

Today Defra Ministers announced measures the Government will take following its 2019 consultation on measures to reduce personal water consumption in England. The Ministerial statement can be found here. The research referred to in Nathan and Nicci’s quotes can be found here (1) and here (2).