London mayor calls for compulsory water metering to protect city’s future water supplies


Boris Johnson,
Mayor of London
London, U.K. — (METERING.COM) — August 31, 2009 – As part of a plan to protect London’s water and ensure sustainable supply in a changing climate the Mayor of London Boris Johnson has said he will support water companies to introduce compulsory water metering.

According to Johnson the average Londoner uses approximately 160 l of water a day and through easy measures just 10 per cent of this total could be saved.

Challenges that London faces include a population that is expected to rise from 7.56 million to 9.11 million by 2031, hotter summers due to climate change, and leaky Victorian pipes, as well as Victorian sewers that overflow due to heavy rain, discharging sewage into the Thames up to 60 times each year.

Currently 23 percent of households in London have water meters. Compulsory water metering will greatly increase the water efficiency of existing homes and the draft plan calls for all houses in London to have meters installed by 2015 and all blocks of flats by 2020. Further, all new flats in London should have an individually metered water supply. Tariff arrangements should encourage the efficient use of water but protect vulnerable and low income households.

Other proposals include more stringent leak reductions, with a target for Thames Water of the best U.K. standard of 80 l per property per day by 2035, rather than the currently proposed 114 l, and helping Londoners to become more water efficient through a city-wide homes energy efficiency program set to launch next year. Further, new homes need to be as water efficient as possible and among other actions rainwater harvesting, grey water recycling and sustainable drainage will be encouraged through planning policies.

The Mayor also proposes to work with the water companies and other partners to improve the public’s awareness of how to become more water efficient, including the possible savings that householders can achieve through their water and energy bills.

“It is easy to take our water in the river Thames and in our taps for granted. It is a vital resource, which is under pressure from our expanding population and changing climate,” commented Johnson. “Over a quarter of our climate change emissions from home actually come from the water we use and we can all do our bit to become more efficient in the way we use it.”

A three-month consultation is now being held on the plan, and it will be finalized in 2010.