Response to Ofwat’s Consultation on Minor Revisions to Water Efficiency Target Methodology (2012)

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Waterwise is extremely supportive of Ofwat’s plans to put in place a framework to incentivise and reward water companies for work to help develop robust evidence on the effectiveness of water efficiency measures. This framework would allow companies’ contributions to a collaborative evidence base fund to count against a small proportion of their volumetric base targets. We report here discussions on governance of the fund agreed by the companies and the key players in summer 2011. We are cautious about removal of the cap on soft measures.

Waterwise is extremely supportive of Ofwat’s plans to put in place a framework toincentivise and reward water companies for work to help develop robust evidence on the effectiveness of water efficiency measures. This framework would allowcompanies’ contributions to a collaborative evidence base fund to count against asmall proportion of their volumetric base targets.

Waterwise’s response to Ofwat’s consultation on minor revisions to water efficiencytargets relates to three main areas:

  • The introduction of a framework that would allow companies’ contributions to a collaborative evidence base fund to count against a small proportion of their volumetric base targets
  • Removal of the 30% cap currently imposed on the contribution of ‘soft measures’ to the volumetric element of water efficiency targets, where the soft measures proposed beyond the cap can be clearly shown to lead to water savings
  • Unsolicited distribution of water efficiency productsThe Collaborative Evidence Base FundWe believe the fund provides a fantastic opportunity to improve the understanding of the impact of water efficiency interventions, fund new research to fill gaps in knowledge (including gaps identified by the Waterwise work) about specific aspects of water efficiency interventions and provide further funding to the Waterwise Evidence Base, at the discretion of water companies. The latter would help deliver more of the longlist of company priorities for Waterwise Evidence Base work, of which only a proportion is currently funded.Throughout Phases 2 and 3 of the Evidence Base Programme, Waterwise has been talking to water companies to understand what gaps exist in the water efficiency evidence base. As a result of this and other work that Waterwise has engaged in, in addition to having expertise in carrying this type of project, we have a number of ideas for projects that would help to improve the evidence base.There is a question as to how the fund, if it is established, should be owned and managed. Discussions have already taken place between water companies, Water UK, UKWIR and Waterwise, aimed at ensuring appropriate governance arrangements, which make best use of forums already in place. These are discussed below.