Policy

We've been involved with Waterwise for many years and over that time we've seen their influence grow and become a real voice for change on important national policy issues like water efficiency, labelling and changes to building regulations.

Peter Simpson, CEO, Anglian Water
Waterwise works with governments, regulators, water companies and wider stakeholders across the UK to promote policies that support greater water efficiency.  

Here we highlight some of our recent policy work:

Latest News

Proposed Environment Bill targets include water demand

A key part of the new Environment Bill is the commitment by the government to set long-term, legally-binding environmental targets.

The government had previously committed in the 25 Year Environment Plan to publish a target to reduce domestic water use in England. Following interventions from water companies, Waterwise and eNGOs they proposed in August 2020 broadening this out so that the Environment Bill target would potentially also include non household business demand and leakage….more closely reflecting the total amount of water taken out of the environment by water companies. Work will now focus on agreeing the actual target levels with a public consultation on them in early 2022.

UK Government urged by watchdog to do more on water efficiency

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) published its inquiry response in July 2020 following the hard hitting National Audit Office report into Water Supply and Demand Management. Both reports called for government action on mandatory product water efficiency labelling and tighter building regulation standards for water. Defra was tasked by the PAC with reporting back within four months setting out a timetable for when it expects to implement product labelling and any other changes, including to building regulations, designed to improve water efficiency.

Non-household water efficiency

Following the request in March 2020 from regulators to both wholesalers and retailers to develop a joint action plan (see here) to deliver greater water efficiency in the business sector Waterwise has been working with the Retailer Wholesaler Group to develop an agreed set of actions. The Action Plan will be published in November 2020 and will include actions to agree the scale of ambition; to improve visibility and insights from consumption data, to improve collaboration in water resource planning and in water saving campaigns and to review the regulatory framework to ensure it is supportive.

Leaky Loo’s hit the headlines

A key part of the new Environment Bill is the commitment by the government to set long-term, legally-binding environmental targets.

The government had previously committed in the 25 Year Environment Plan to publish a target to reduce domestic water use in England. Following interventions from water companies, Waterwise and eNGOs they proposed in August 2020 broadening this out so that the Environment Bill target would potentially also include non household business demand and leakage….more closely reflecting the total amount of water taken out of the environment by water companies. Work will now focus on agreeing the actual target levels with a public consultation on them in early 2022.

Defra consultation on reducing personal water use

The consultation has now closed! The final Waterwise response can be found here and was one of over 300 received by Defra.

Waterwise indicated strong support for mandatory water labelling linked to minimum standards for fittings and greater ambition in Building Regulations.

We also supported faster and more widespread metering, particularly smart metering. We called for Government to adopt a national target to bring personal water use below 100 litres per day by 2050 to meet the commitment made in The 25 year Plan for the Environment. A letter style response was also submitted by Daniel Johns as Chair of the UK Water Efficiency Strategy Steering Group.

Defra are currently reviewing the responses and plan a series of roundtables to discuss them in more detail.

Water labelling could help reduce PCC by up to 30 lpd

New research, commissioned through Waterwise and the water industry collaborative fund, found that a government-led mandatory water label linked to building regulations and fittings standards could reduce personal water consumption in England by up to 30 litres per person per day within 25 years.

The research is very timely – providing evidence that will be submitted on the value of such a scheme which will be submitted to Defra as part of their consultation and evidence gathering measures to reduce personal water use Link. For further information get in touch with Nathan Richardson below.

Waterwise’s Water Efficiency Strategy for the UK (June 2017)

The strategy was developed in consultation with the water sector – including Waterwise supporters and the Water UK-supported steering group. It sets out a blueprint to deliver a vision of a UK in which all people, homes and businesses are water-efficient, and where water is used wisely, every day, everywhere. Read more about the strategy and the ongoing work of the Water UK supported Water Efficiency Strategy Steering Group in delivering the actions here.