All households should be metered for water usage in the future, according to an environmental charity.
The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM) has said basic water usage should also be charged at a low cost with an escalating tariff to prevent wastefulness and encourage water efficiency.
Around one in three households in the UK use a water meter. Households that have one pay charges based on the amount of water they use, while houses without pay a fixed amount based upon the rateable value of the property.
In a new policy statement on water efficiency, CIWEM has also set out other measures needed to ensure the trend is not reversed. The report suggests that the water regulator Ofwat should be obligated to promote water conservation by ensuring water providers are funded to promote the efficient use of water by their customers
“Water efficiency gains can be made in both industry and domestic settings”, said Alastair Chisholm, CIWEM policy manager.
“These measures, from charging everyone for water through to an integrated communications strategy, are desperately needed as demand for water is predicted to rise.
“Greater water use efficiency means less water has to be abstracted, treated, pumped and re-treated as wastewater. Thus, water efficiency by itself helps to reduce carbon emissions; and with less water going further, helps to meet climate change adaptation and mitigation goals; as well as placing less pressure on the aquatic environment.”
A recent report by the Energy Saving Trust showed that households across the UK could collectively save £300m through simple measures such as having shorter showers.
Andrew Tucker, water strategy manager at the Energy Saving Trust, said, “By reducing the amount of water – especially hot water – that we use, we can cut down on the energy demands of our lifestyles, which have changed radically over the last 50 years.”