Water shortage warningWater industry concerned with leakage

24 October 2005

Despite the wet weather, water shortages are an 'increasingly serious issue' which can't be solved by building more reservoirs, says a new group set up to protect Britain's dwindling supply.

Currently, a third of the country's domestic water disappears down the toilet, and another third is used for baths, showers and washing machines. The Water Saving Group, which brings together all the major players in the water sector, says that households are increasing their usage - but supplies are limited.

It says that Britain must act now and has produced a blueprint for getting households to cut their consumption. The group will reward water companies for encouraging customers to save water.

The water industry has come under fire for its leakage rate, but the government says the action plan is in addition to efforts to tackle this issue.

We'll address leakage

Environment Minister Elliot Morley said:'We are already facing potential water supply problems in the south of the country after prolonged dry weather but the real challenges are over the longer term, particularly as we experience the effects of climate change. The uncomfortable reality is that we can no longer assume unlimited supplies of water in all circumstances.

'This initiative is not an alternative to addressing other issues such as the problem of leakage - it is an additional effort to safeguard the sustainability of our water resources. We are cracking on with finding solutions to an increasingly serious issue.'

Water chiefs say consumers can save litres each day by adopting simple measures around the home, including:

  • not leaving the tap running while brushing teeth, shaving or washing hands which can waste up to five litres of water per minute
  • taking a five minute shower which uses third of the water of a bath. However, power showers can use more water than a bath in less than five minutes
  • fixing dripping taps which can waste up to four litres of water a day

Industry regulator Ofwat has welcomed the formation of the new group and says measures such as metering must be introduced to increase water efficiency.

'Increased metering, particularly in the water- stressed areas is a vital part of any program of measures' said Ofwat Director General Philip Fletcher.

'Until customers pay for the water they use they will not save money when they save water'.