Public engagement needed for water usage plans to work, says Commission

Commission responds to government plans to address personal water consumption.

Published: 1 Jul 2021

By: Ben Wilson

Tagged: ,

Water running down a metal drain.

Today (1 July) government has published a Written Ministerial Statement on steps to reduce personal water consumption. It follows a public consultation on the subject held in 2019, and outlines measures government intends to take to encourage water efficient products and introduce a more consistent approach to leakage.

In response, a spokesperson for the National Infrastructure Commission said:

“Any step to help reduce personal water consumption and cut leakage will contribute to reducing the risk of severe drought in future. That’s why the water sector’s pledge to half leakages by 2050 remains crucial.

“But on the demand side, highlighting the water usage of new products will only work with a corresponding public engagement campaign, which would also build support for compulsory water metering which the Commission believes is vital to controlling water usage to the degree needed for the longer term.”


Defra’s press release setting out details of the proposals can be read here.

The Commission’s 2018 report, Preparing for a drier future, set out the need for government to ensure increased drought resilience in England by enhancing the capacity of the water supply system. The report called for a twin-track approach combining demand management (including leakage reduction and compulsory water metering) with long-term investment in supply infrastructure.

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