WaterUK: Saving water in 2008

Water efficiency campaigns can help people save money and the environment but only if they provide credible information, says WaterUK. Today the Consumer Council for Water calls on customers to make saving water their New Year resolution for 2008. Why worry about losing weight or getting fit when some "small simple changes" in your use of water could leave you quids in and feeling good about your new green lifestyle? Water UK applauds a timely initiative...

LONDON, Jan. 3, 2008 -- Water efficiency campaigns can help people save money and the environment but only if they provide credible information.

Today the Consumer Council for Water calls on customers to make saving water their New Year resolution for 2008. Why worry about losing weight or getting fit when some "small simple changes" in your use of water could leave you quids in and feeling good about your new green lifestyle?

Water UK applauds a timely initiative but regrets the misleading information used to sell it to customers and the media.

The Council claims confidently that we use more water per person than the rest of Europe. But according to Ofwat, the industry's economic regulator, people in England and Wales use an average 150 liters a day "a figure mid-way on the international scale". Within Europe the Spanish are the biggest users.*

The water efficiency charity Waterwise, quoted by Ofwat as particularly active in seeking out information on water efficiency, confirms the middle range consumption figure. In England and Wales our use is lower than France, Sweden and Norway.

Saving money
When it comes to money, the Council is right to draw attention to the potential for financial saving. But the level of potential saving it promotes is irrelevant to all but a small minority of customers.

We are told that by "easy steps" a family of four could save around £250 a year. The reality of the claim for most people may be judged from the fact that the average water and sewerage bill for customers in England and Wales in2007-08 is £312.

Water companies across the country are working hard to promote the wise use of water in the interests of their customers and the health of the natural environment. The support of leading stakeholders such as the Consumer Council for Water is very valuable in this effort.

But the cause of water efficiency will be weakened by campaign headlines that on closer inspection fail to ...well... hold water.

* International comparison of water and sewerage service. 2007 report. OfwatApril 2007. Press release 19 April2007.

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Also see:
-- "Strong support received for the GB strategy to tackle invasive non-native species"
-- "Government consults on how Emissions Trading auctions will be implemented"
-- "Practical steps to water affordability can be a lesson for all says Minister"
-- "Ofwat proposes competition boost to benefit consumers"
-- "Customers tap into affordable water"

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