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Ofwat proposes Water Efficiency Fund to promote more sustainable water use

  • Water regulator opens second consultation on £100m fund to help meet growing demand for water in a changing environment.
  • Changing behaviour and new innovations will help to secure supplies, save customers money, and safeguard natural habitats.
  • England and Wales expected to need more than 4 billion extra litres of water per day by 2050.

Ofwat yesterday published its second public consultation on a five-year £100m Water Efficiency Fund (WEF) to find ways to help people reduce their water usage and save money on their bill. The WEF is set to go live in 2025 and will operate alongside planned work by water companies in England and Wales to halve leakage and develop up to £14bn of water supply infrastructure projects in the coming decades.

Current projections state England and Wales will need upwards of 4 billion extra litres of water per day by 2050 – around 25% of the water currently put into supply.

The WEF will focus on a behaviour change campaign to promote sustainability and competitions to seek out the best innovations and schemes, in a coordinated effort to give people the tools they need to deliver cost savings and better protect the environment. The WEF will cost billpayers 62p per year on average.

Paul Hickey, Senior Director at Ofwat, said:

“To secure long-term supplies of affordable, resilient water supplies we need to do three things: tackle wastage, boost supply and reduce demand. Companies know they have to deliver on the first and have been set a target to halve leakage. On supply, we are driving ahead with multi-billion pound projects to deliver new sources of water, including several new reservoirs.

“The final piece of the puzzle is to reduce demand. Under the Government’s Environmental Improvement Plan, we are aiming to achieve a consumption target of 110 litres of water per head per day, down from about 146 litres per head per day currently.

“We have seen customers in England and Wales increasingly want to make environmentally conscious choices, and we want to empower them to be able to do that.”

The WEF is being designed to encourage collaboration and innovation between water companies, regulators and across sectors. It is Ofwat’s ambition to prioritise water efficiency on par with energy efficiency and other sustainability challenges, promote its efficient use, gather greater understanding, and remove barriers to help water companies deliver on their responsibilities.

Using less water will reduce the volume of water taken from rivers and aquifers which can impact sensitive habitats; increase resilience to drought; and reduce the likelihood of supply interruptions. It will also help to meet the demand of a growing population and adapt to changing water availability driven by the impacts of climate change.

The impact of climate change is seen through longer, hotter spells of weather and more intense rainfall that runs off the land. Yesterday’s consultation sets out the current thinking on how the WEF should operate and seeks views on a wide range of related questions to inform its development from all interested parties.

The consultation closes on 25 June. A final approach will be set out later in 2024 with an expectation for the WEF to be operational in 2025.

Notes for editors

The consultation document Scoping the Water Efficiency Fund: Second Consultation can be viewed on the Ofwat website.

Channel website: http://www.ofwat.gov.uk/

Original article link: https://www.ofwat.gov.uk/ofwat-proposes-water-efficiency-fund-to-promote-more-sustainable-water-use/

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