Without water efficiency measures, recently announced reductions to water bills will be cancelled out because of the challenge of dealing with long term water shortage, according to a report from think tank Green Alliance.
The report – Cutting the cost of water: the case for improving water efficiency in the UK – notes that the average combined UK water and sewerage bills is £395, with prices likely to rise as water companies build expensive infrastructure, such as reservoirs, in response to rising pressures on water supply.
However, it adds that water efficiency could save household as mush as £78 a year, or 20%, on current bills. Simple measures, such as dual flush toilets, could save 7,000 litres of water per person per year, yet single flush toilets are still installed in the majority of homes.
Sue Armstrong Brown, policy director of Green Alliance, said, “Current patterns of water use damage the environment and contribute to bills that [cost] householders hundreds of pounds a year. These costs are only likely to go up without a much greater focus on water saving.”
The report recommends integrating water efficiency with existing energy efficiency programmes, such as the Green Deal and ECO. It also calls for regulatory change to ensure water is “priced properly”, introducing variable tariffs and for the water sector to build a stable investment regime in water saving.
Matthew Wright, chief executive of Southern Water, commented, “The water sector will be investing more than ever before in water efficiency over the next five years. This will improve the resilience of the water system and help reduce customers’ bills.
“However, pressures on water resources will only get more intense, as a result of abstraction licence changes, climate change and population growth. Water companies need to keep looking for new, innovative ways to bring down demand for water, working together with customers, government and regulators.”
Photo: Mark Lee via Flickr