Britain’s civil engineers call for universal water metering


Michael Norton,
Chair, ICE Water
London, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — June 14, 2012 – Britain’s Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has called for the implementation of universal water metering nationally as part of a roadmap towards achieving water security.

This should be complemented by social and discretionary tariffs that reward low use, as well as demand management information, so that all water users pay for the water they use depending on the nature of that use and when they use it, whilst at the same time protecting the poor and the vulnerable.

In its State of the Nation Water 2012 report, part of an annual series, the ICE says the U.K. has a looming and significant challenge to its water security. As a matter of urgency leadership should be established to deliver a strategic, coherent and integrated roadmap to water security.

As part of this the importance of water to society should be more effectively emphasized and water conservation more actively promoted to drive reduced water use. In particular ambitious changes should be driven to reduce domestic per capita consumption by 30 percent from the current average of 150 l/day. Reductions across agriculture and industry should also be promoted.

“We are a populous nation facing a growing gap between what we can supply and what our water users need,” commented Michael Norton, chair of the ICE Water Panel. “The changes ICE is recommending will require some upheaval to current regulations as well as firm decisions on how to forecast future demand, but once done we would see the effect relatively quickly.”

The report was prepared during what had become a sustained drought affecting much of the country, with measures such as hosepipe bans in place in many areas – but subsequently broken by heavy rain and severe flooding in certain places.

In a response minister for the Natural Environment and Fisheries Richard Benyon described the report as “excellent.” However, he didn’t comment on the universal water metering recommendation, which the government in its recent water white paper has rejected, deferring the decision to be made on a local basis by the water companies.