Those wasting water should pay for environmental costs says CIWEM

Basic water usage should be charged to combat wastefulness and increase efficiency, says the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM).


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In its latest policy statement on water use efficiency, which calls all users to action, CIWEM says basic water usage should be charged at low cost with an escalating tariff.

The institution proposes that the charge for basic usage, which would escalate rapidly thereafter, would allow affordable use whilst ensuring wasteful users pay for the environmental costs derived from their usage.

According to CIWEM, total abstractions in England and Wales are currently static or declining, but this trend is threatened by changes in climate, lifestyle, population growth and housing development.

The policy statement sets out measures needed to ensure this “trend is not reversed”.

CIWEM policy manager, Alastair Chisholm, said: “Water efficiency gains can be made in both industry and domestic settings. These measures, from charging everyone for water through to an integrated communications strategy, are desperately needed as demand for water is predicted to rise.

“Greater water use efficiency means less water has to be abstracted, treated, pumped and re-treated as wastewater. Thus, water efficiency by itself helps to reduce carbon emissions; and with less water going further, helps to meet climate change adaptation and mitigation goals; as well as placing less pressure on the aquatic environment,” added Chisholm.

Measures called for include, all household customers to be metered where practical, and providing regulator Ofwat with a statutory duty to promote water conservation and efficiency.

It also proposes adopting an integrated approach to water use efficiency and the need for a national communication strategy to forge an integrated approach and consistent message to consumers.

Leigh Stringer

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