New regs to cut water waste in homes

The Government is to bring in new water efficiency regulations for British houses, as concerns over the effects of the housing boom and water shortages grow.

The process is to kick off with a consultation in the summer, following the Government’s promise to regulate water efficiency last December. The Environment Agency has warned earlier this year that building more than a million new homes in Southeast England could have disastrous effects on water resources.

The regulations will bring in more low and dual-flush toilets, as well as improvements to taps, showers and washing machines. They will apply to new homes, extensions and refurbishment work carried out on existing properties.

Housing and Planning Minister Yvette Cooper said: “We need to build more homes for the next generations and also make sure that they are environmentally sustainable. That means we need high standards on water efficiency and will bring forward new measures to save water in our homes.”

With new technology estimated to reduce water use in homes by at least 25-30% compared to conventionally built houses, the regulations have the potential to substantially cut water wastage.

Environment Minister Elliot Morley said: “Water is a precious resource in many parts of the country, not just because of low rainfall in the short term, but because changes to our climate are taking place at the same time as changes in the structure and behaviour of our communities.”

“There is no one solution to this complex challenge, and in a changing environment we need a joined-up approach if we are to protect the long term sustainability of supply.

“That doesn’t mean compromising on comfort or quality of life, but working on a number of levels together, to reduce leakage, improve technology, and minimise waste.”

Full details of the measures, including whether they will be compulsory or voluntary, will be revealed in the summer consultation.

By Goska Romanowicz

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