. Our response is centred on the premise that significantly increased water efficiency in England and Wales will benefit society, the environment and the economy.
2. In our response we set out baseline regulation and delivery on water efficiency, and make recommendations to improve this. We find that the twin track approach is being partly implemented by water companies; ambition needs to increase significantly; and innovation on water efficiency is still currently limited. We also set out opportunities for government to drive ambition across the economy through policy and regulation.
3. Our recommendations are:
A. Government should publish the triennial report on progress on water conservation and set out guidance for water conservation by public authorities.
B. The UK and Welsh Governments should set ambitious targets for personal water consumption to help drive ambition on water efficiency by water companies. We suggest that in both England and Wales this should be 100 litres or less by 2045.
C. UK and Welsh Governments and water regulators should prescribe a presumption of demand management options before supply-side measures.
D: Water companies should be encouraged to innovate further on water efficiency; explore partnership programmes with other sectors; mainstream water efficiency across their business operations and customer base; and work with retail water companies to improve water efficiency for non-households.
E: Government should implement the recommendation in the National Infrastructure Commission Report “Preparing for a drier future” – enable water companies to implement compulsory metering by the 2030s beyond water stressed areas, by amending regulations before the end of 2019 and requiring all companies to consider systematic roll-out of smart meters in a first step in a concentrated campaign to improve water efficiency.
F. Governments and water companies should support Waterwise in developing a coalition of organisations to deliver a UK platform for education on water efficiency.
G: The UK Government should clearly state that it expects water retailers to play their role in ensuring resilient supplies strategically as well as reducing customer bills – including in the public sector such as schools and hospitals – by offering core and widespread water efficiency services.
H: The UK and Welsh Governments, through Innovate UK and research councils, should drive more innovation in smart water management and water efficiency; wholesale and retail water companies should adopt and mainstream innovative approaches to customer engagement and innovative water-efficient products.
I: A comprehensive water efficiency product label in the UK.
We gave oral evidence to this inquiry on 20 June 2018. See the video here and transcript here.
Read our full response here.