Waterwise has brought together wholesale companies, water retailers and regulators and government to tackle barriers and produce more joint working and incentives to deliver the water savings we need to see in the business sector.

Jo Dow, Chief Executive, Business Stream

One year on the Waterwise Strategy has been really impactful in terms of policy, regulatory, industry ambition, all significantly increased. For me this is very clear with my Minister and my Secretary of State - they're fully engaged with water efficiency and really recognise it as an important and essential counterpart to supply.

Jenny Marshall-Reed, Head of Water Resources and Abstraction, Defra
Waterwise works with governments, regulators, water companies and wider stakeholders across the UK to promote policies that support greater water efficiency.  

Here we highlight some of our recent policy work:

Latest News

Defra consultation on reducing personal water use

The consultation has now closed! The final Waterwise response can be found here and was one of over 300 received by Defra.

Waterwise indicated strong support for mandatory water labelling linked to minimum standards for fittings and greater ambition in Building Regulations.

We also supported faster and more widespread metering, particularly smart metering. We called for Government to adopt a national target to bring personal water use below 100 litres per day by 2050 to meet the commitment made in The 25 year Plan for the Environment. A letter style response was also submitted by Daniel Johns as Chair of the UK Water Efficiency Strategy Steering Group.

Defra are currently reviewing the responses and plan a series of roundtables to discuss them in more detail.


Water labelling could help reduce PCC by up to 30 lpd

New research, commissioned through Waterwise and the water industry collaborative fund, found that a government-led mandatory water label linked to building regulations and fittings standards could reduce personal water consumption in England by up to 30 litres per person per day within 25 years.

The research is very timely – providing evidence that will be submitted on the value of such a scheme which will be submitted to Defra as part of their consultation and evidence gathering measures to reduce personal water use Link. For further information get in touch with Nathan Richardson below.

Water efficiency in the water retail market - meeting with regulator

Waterwise met with Directors from Ofwat, MOSL and the Environment Agency in June 2019 to discuss the findings and actions that emerged from our 14th May workshop on water efficiency in the retail water market (Workshop Note). It was a really positive meeting with consensus on the challenges and opportunities we identified in the workshop and agreement on most of the actions we put forward. This included the suggestion of a joint letter from the regulators to help promote ambition on water efficiency. For more information contact Nathan Richardson.

Social value in public procurement - consultation response

Waterwise submitted a response to the 2019 Cabinet Office consultation into introducing a mandatory requirement for a minimum 10% allowance in public procurement tenders for the delivery of social value, including environmental sustainability. Our response supported the proposals and highlighted the positive role of water efficiency in social value and the benefits to the environment (Link to Consultation Response). For more information contact Nathan Richardson.

A new £200m Ofwat Innovation fund for AMP7?

In 2019 Ofwat consulted on proposals to establish a new innovation fund of up to £200m for AMP7 (Link). The fund could support innovation projects to meet future challenges in the water sector and/or reward completed projects. In addition, the consultation raises the possibility of creating Centres of Excellence to help encourage and share innovation. 

There are lots of parallels in the proposals with how Waterwise currently works with water sector to undertake and disseminate joint research into common water efficiency challenges and we met with Ofwat to discuss further before submitting our response by the 20th September deadline. For further information contact Nathan Richardson.

Climate Change Committee calls for more action to reduce water consumption

Waterwise contributed to a number of recent reports from the Climate Change Committee. Hot on the heels of the UK Housing and Net Zero carbon reports the CCC published its review of Progress in Preparing for Climate Change in July.  

On domestic water consumption the review highlights that “while a broad range of actions are being taken to reduce water consumption, the level of progress in recent years and the ambition in company plans may not be adequate to address future risks, particularly in the context of a 4°C global temperature scenario”. It restates past recommendations for a national PCC target; mandatory water efficiency labelling, greater water efficiency in new build houses and extended water metering. 

On progress with adaptation amongst business water users the review says that ‘there is no overarching plan or target’ and that ‘a lack of data means it is not possible to say whether businesses as a whole are improving their water efficiency. The retail market could help to create incentives for businesses to become more water efficient but has so far only had a limited impact’. This echoes the findings in Ofwat’s 2019 State of the Market (2018-19) report and our May 19 Waterwise workshop

Waterwise’s Water Efficiency Strategy for the UK (June 2017)

The strategy was developed in consultation with the water sector – including Waterwise supporters and the Water UK-supported steering group. It sets out a blueprint to deliver a vision of a UK in which all people, homes and businesses are water-efficient, and where water is used wisely, every day, everywhere. Read more about the strategy and the ongoing work of the Water UK supported Water Efficiency Strategy Steering Group in delivering the actions here.