Defra consults on compulsory water meters
Water companies are to get powers to force water meters on customers under Defra plans published this week.Companies would include compulsory metering in long-term water resource management plans following proposals made by the Water Saving Group and published for consultation on Tuesday.
Metering has been shown to bring water use down by around 10% by making people more aware of the water they are using.
Launching the consultation, environment minister Ian Pearson said: "I believe there is an important debate to be had about the role metering can play over and above the efficiencies water companies are already expected to deliver, like meeting their leakage targets and the development of sustainable new resources.
"In areas of serious water stress metering may be a valuable additional tool in providing security by reducing unnecessary water use and waste," he said.
The Environment Agency's chief executive Barbara Young spoke out in favour of metering as she outlined the methods used to map areas of water stress which would receive compulsory meters (see related story).
"There is a need for meters to be installed quickly in areas where water resources are stressed. In the south east we would like much of this to be achieved by 2015 - as long as social safeguards are in place to protect low income and vulnerable households," she said.
"The benefits of metering in reducing demand, energy and helping with more effective leakage management are unchallengeable."
The water metering consultation can be accessed here.
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