Businesses team up for water behaviour change campaign

A coalition of more than 40 water companies, green groups and charities have today (30 July) launched a new behaviour change campaign aimed at helping businesses and individuals to use less water.

Businesses team up for water behaviour change campaign

The EA recently warned that England could run short of water within 25 years

Called “Love Water” and spearheaded by the Environment Agency (EA), the campaign aims to raise awareness of the value of water and the natural cycle in which it operates.

On a business level, organisations of all sizes and sectors will have the chance to make new commitments around water conservation and reducing marine pollution through a digital platform. It is hoped that this nudge will encourage more businesses to make water-saving and pollution reduction a key part of their corporate responsibility strategies – or even their wider business frameworks.

As for individuals, the campaign will see a number of events such as beach cleans, river clean-ups and water-saving competitions hosted across the UK. These will be complemented with an online and in-person education campaign, covering topics such as not flushing wet wipes, not littering, not pouring oil down domestic sinks and turning the tap off when toothbrushing.

The EA claims that the launch of love “Love Water” marks the first time that such a large group of stakeholders have collaborated on water stewardship in a way that addresses behaviours in the workplace and at home.

The initiative’s other participants are Water UK, Ofwat, the Consumer Council for Water, WaterAid, the Angling Trust, the National Union of Students, Wildlife and Countryside Link, the University of West of England, Affinity Water, British Canoeing, UEA, National Farmers Union, the British Natural History Consortium, Waterwise, Sainsbury’s, the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Refill, RSPB, the Rivers Trust, the BinIn4Beaches Partnership, the Blueprint for Water Partnership, Yorkshire Water, Thames Water, South Staffordshire Water, Severn Trent Water,  Hafren Dyfrdwy, South East Water, Wessex Water, Anglian Water, United Utilities, Northumbrian Water, Southern Water, Bristol Water, Essex & Suffolk Water and City to Sea.

“Most people agree that water is a precious resource, but, too often, we take it for granted and don’t see how our actions have a direct effect on the local rivers, lakes and beaches we all care about,” EA chief executive James Bevan said.

“Our campaign intends to change that by urging people to use water wisely. We know that everyone has a duty to preserve and protect water and the campaign will also work with industry, water companies and other regulators in the longer-term to cut down on wastage.”

Plans that carry water

The launch of “Love Water” forms part of the Government’s Year of Green Action campaign – a 12-month schedule of events and initiatives aimed at helping both businesses and individuals connect with nature, with the overarching aim of driving more ambitious protection and restoration schemes.

It also comes shortly after the Department for Food, the Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) proposed the introduction of a “personal water target” which would legally require individuals to keep their water consumption within a certain “budget”.

Published last year, the Government’s 25-Year Environment Plan set out an ambition to reduce individual water consumption to an average of 150 litres per person, per day. Defra’s new proposals would see that target backed up with legislation, to be developed in collaboration with businesses, regulators and NGOs. The Department believes that this move may be necessary in the wake of the EA’s warning that England could run short of water within 25 years.

Sarah George

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