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Water Efficiency and the Water Companies: A 2010 UK Review (2010)

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Since 1991 water companies in England and Wales, and since 1994 Scottish Water have had a legal duty to promote water efficiency to their customers. This report seeks to give an overview of the activities of water companies in relation to water efficiency. All companies are active in promoting water efficiency to their customers.

Waterwise was set up in 2005 as an independent, not-for-profit, non governmental organisation, by the UK water industry. It had been identified that the water companies in the UK needed support in promoting water efficiency to their customers, and as a result, Waterwise was born. But water efficiency did not start with Waterwise – far from it, as water companies have been carrying out water efficiency work for a long time. Waterwise was set
up to build on these solid foundations, and has become an influential and effective water efficiency facilitator, working closely with the UK water industry though delivering campaigns on water efficiency, advising them of policy change and methods of achieving targets and conducting quality research on water efficiency through the Evidence Base for Large-scale Water Efficiency in Homes and on other issues. Waterwise also facilitates effective partnerships between water companies, retailers and manufacturers to enable the delivery of water efficiency programmes.

The final determinations of Ofwat’s (the Water Services Regulatory Authority) price review (PR09) for energy and water approved several enhanced water efficiency programmes, some of which will mean that tens of thousands of householders will be offered a water efficiency makeover for their homes at no extra charge. PR09 will also enable the extension of water metering in homes in England and Wales to 50 per cent by 2015: some large metering projects will include water efficiency, and in Scotland where Scottish Water now has a water efficiency duty, the Water Industry Commission for Scotland has funded the first domestic metering trial.

This report is in three sections. This first gives an overview of water efficiency, and summarises the activities which the water companies are involved in. The second section goes into further detail for each individual water company, and focuses on specific areas where they have excelled. The third and final section looks into the future, and what projects will be carried out by the UK water industry. All water companies in the UK are mentioned in this report, however Cholderton and District Water do not feature because as a small water company with only 725 connections its water efficiency work is on a much smaller scale than other companies.