Why we’re supporting Water Saving Week

This week Ofwat is getting behind Waterwise’s Water Saving Week 2018. Using less water is the single most important contribution that we can all make to reducing water bills, improving resilience and protecting our natural environment.

Water Saving Week 2018 has a particular resonance with Ofwat’s work at the moment. This month we have kicked off a project to understand the long-term potential for households to save water as active participants in our sector, and we are also investigating the companies’ water resource management plans (WRMPs), which set out their trajectories for cutting leakage and consumption. WRMPs are one of the bases for developing PR19 business plans, due in later this year.

But Water Saving Week isn’t just about regulators working on long term strategies. It’s about every individual person thinking more consciously about how we use water, valuing it more, and pledging to use less of it.

So why should you save water?

  1. Save money: Saving water saves money. Installing simple devices such as water-efficient taps and showers will save both water and energy by minimising the use of heated water. An efficient shower head could reduce household bills by up to £120 per year. Such large financial savings can be particularly vital for households facing water and/or energy poverty.
  2. Climate Change: Our use of water and energy are closely linked. A major source of emissions is from using hot water within homes. Reducing the time you shower or the amount of hot water you use for cleaning dishes therefore has a significant impact on your personal carbon footprint. Operational emissions from the water industry also account for nearly 1% of the UK’s total.
  3. The environment: Half of England’s rivers are over-abstracted. This puts aquatic ecosystems and wildlife at threat. Using water efficiently means that we can minimise the amount of additional water resources being taking out of our rivers and aquifers, especially as demands are rising.
  4. Securing water supplies: As water resources become scarcer, building new infrastructure for augmenting supply becomes increasingly expensive. If we save water that is otherwise wasted, we can offset the need for new infrastructures and reduce pressure on existing ones. Additionally, efficient water use makes our supply more resilient against impacts from climate change, such as droughts.

This year, I’ve taken water efficiency seriously in my home, by installing a water-saving dual-flush toilet, an aerated shower head and kitchen tap, and a four-minute timer in my shower. I’ve identified my next water-wasting culprit though – my home beer brewery, which uses a tap-water cooling system. My pledge is to install a water butt to collect the water, and use it to water my plants in my new garden.

So what are you waiting for? Head over to Twitter and tell @Waterwise your pledge using #watersavingweek

Here’s to an inspiring and informative Water Saving Week.

Tom Handysides

Programme Director, Strategy & Planning