Climate change, population increases, environmental requirements and a growing demand for water will mean that, in the future, there will be substantial pressure on surface and groundwater supplies, less water available per person and a significant likelihood of more frequent, severe droughts. This consultation was launched by the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to help the government understand a wider range of potential measures to reduce personal water consumption, and what reduction in water consumption is technically feasible and/or achievable.
In our response we highlighted how in our research we found that younger generations face more complex and stressful lives than ever before, with potentially less time for and interest in saving water, versus a propensity to use more, for example by taking multiple showers per day. Without intervention this creates a worrying trend for the future. We highlighted the need for ambitious building regulations for water consumption, the importance of partnership working and innovation, the importance of local circumstances and of local customer preferences and for customer supply pipe adoption. We also explored the challenges of customer perception, and in how we work with customers and other stakeholders to educate them on demand management and the benefits of water efficiency. We concluded that we thought a balance of cultural change, ‘hard’ solutions such as water saving devices, and changes in legislation were required to adapt to the challenges ahead.