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UK Government proposes personal water consumption target

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The UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has revealed plans to encourage individuals to save water and to introduce a personal water consumption target.

Defra will carry out a public consultation into how water can be saved by UK individuals, as well as how industry can support customers to use less water.

Under a government commitment to incentivise greater water efficiency and reduce personal water use, the new proposals aim to develop a “water-saving culture”.

“We take our supply of clean water for granted and to keep doing that, given the growing population and impact of climate change, we need to challenge ourselves more on how much water we actually need to use,” commented minister for the environment, Thérèse Coffey.

“While water companies must lead the way in reducing leakage, using water efficiently will help ensure we all have enough water for our homes, to produce food, products and services, and to protect our valuable natural environment for the next generation. This call for evidence will help us set an ambitious target for personal water consumption.”

Consumption figures in England, which currently stand at around 141 litres of water per day per person in England, have risen over the past few years.

The Environment Agency recently warned that if this trend continues, England could suffer from significant water shortages by 2050.

“Balancing the water needed for people and the environment in the face of a warming climate and a growing population will be one of the major challenges of the next 25 years,” said Sir James Bevan, CEO of the Environment Agency.

“Our tap water comes direct from the ground, and our lakes and rivers where it supports wildlife. It is only by reducing the amount of water we all use that we can reduce pressure on the environment and avoid future water shortages. I’d encourage everyone to take part in the consultation and think about ways you can use less water.”

The consultation, which will run for 12 weeks, includes questions related to: the labelling of water-using products; how building standards can be improved; the future role of water metering; the implementation of behaviour change campaigns; and how to improve the availability of information for customers.