Efficiency targets proposed for U.K. water companies


London, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — June 23, 2008 – Under new proposals from the U.K. water regulator Ofwat, water companies across England and Wales can expect a “stretching” minimum target for saving water through approved water efficiency activities.

With a proposed minimum target saving of 23.3 Ml/day across the region, which amounts to a 40 percent increase in the average amount of water saved through water efficiency activity by companies over the past three years, Ofwat proposes that companies should have an annual base service target of saving one liter of water per billed property per day. This target, which may be met through both household and non-household activity, should run initially from 2010 to 2015, during which a review of targets will be conducted.

Should the target remain in place to 2030, it is expected to contribute at least half of the required savings to meet the government’s goal of reducing individual water usage to 130 l per person per day down from the current level around 150 l.

In addition Ofwat proposes that water companies should be required to provide information to consumers on how to be more water efficient and on the availability of water efficient devices and appliances. They should also be required to take an active part in improving the evidence base for water efficiency by evaluating the actual savings delivered and cost of different activities, and by identifying the approaches that deliver the greatest consumer uptake.

Given these proposals, Ofwat also believes that water efficiency should be defined as activities that seek to influence consumers’ decisions about how much water to use. Historically, companies have counted the water savings from their repairs to customers’ supply pipes as water efficiency savings because companies’ policies speed up the process for repairing these pipes. However, these should be excluded as supply pipe repairs and replacements are part of network management and they already contribute to companies’ efforts to meet their leakage targets.

Conversely savings that arise from metering should be included, because metering encourages consumers to use water more wisely.

Commenting on the proposals, George Day, Ofwat’s director of network regulation, says: “The new approach to water efficiency targets we are proposing will be challenging for companies but help to reduce wasteful use of water. This should mean lower costs, lower customer bills and good news for the environment.”