5 November 2019
In a new #WhyNotWater podcast series launched on social media by @AffinityWater, Paul Horton, CEO of the Future Water Association, signs up to Affinity Water’s #WhyNotWater Campaign, with its call to action for consumers to demand key changes to legislation and policy supported by government and manufacturers. Paul, who has worked in the industry for 25 years, sets out the reasons why water companies and government itself should do more to communicate to consumers the real value of the water they use in their homes.
In the podcast Paul discusses how more needs to be done to communicate to consumers just how good tap water is in the UK and what good value for money it is. He discusses the climate change debate, the urgency of the need to take action on our individual water use and reduce it, in line with Affinity Water’s four #WhyNotWater campaign Asks. He says the individual target for water use should be set even lower to just 80 litres per person per day and he talks of the need not just to install water efficient devices in homes, but to ensure when new houses are fitted with them that home owners stick with these devices rather than change them as research shows does happen.
Paul says: “There can be a blame game. What we need is a debate. Our Association is at the heart of the debate, we represent suppliers across the sector and some of the water companies are members as are some of the big contractors. We’re also talking to the regulator OFWAT and were talking to the Environment Agency and the drinking water inspectorate and others. I think the challenge is to move away from a blame game and move towards a much more informed debate. The debate being how do we transform the sector, how do we make it more imaginative, more efficient more forward looking because it’s not just about the service provided by the water companies and the investment that they make it’s about future skills. What people do we need coming into our industry that help our industry transform and change?
“If you think about the complexity of it, the water companies in England and Wales have to look after about 340 thousand kilometres of water mains and they have to manage and look after 620 thousand kilometres approximately of sewer networks and drains. It’s huge and they have been put in the ground in the last 150 or so years, going back to the Victorian times and so it’s an increasingly complex situation. Those pipe networks have been built over, the pipe materials are different and knowing where they all are is still not 100 per cent. We are managing a situation of increasing complexity and there are more people on the planet now and more people in the UK so demand is changing. The SE of the UK is as water stressed as Israel and people don’t realise that. They think we get a lot of rain but the density of the population means we are water stressed.”
In the remainder of the podcast Paul goes on to elaborate on the Affinity #WhyNotWater four Asks:
- Mandatory water efficiency labeling on all goods.
- Rights for tenants to request that their landlords install water saving measures so that they are able to enjoy water efficient homes.
- Domestic water efficiency by ensuring fixtures and fittings meet standard requirements through mandatory certification.
- Every Local Plan in a severely water stressed area should include the target of 110 litres per person per day.