Plans for a personal water use target

The government wants your ideas for reducing personal water use. The consultation is open now and closes 11 October 2019.

Washing hands. Photo credit: Pexels

Washing hands. Photo credit: Pexels

Plans to encourage customers to save water in their everyday lives and to introduce a personal water consumption target have been published in a consultation by the government.

In the 25 Year Environment Plan the government committed to incentivise less personal use of water through encouraging a “water-saving culture.”.

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey wants to make sure that there is enough clean water for everyone now and in the future:

"We take our supply of clean water for granted and to keep doing that, given the growing population and impact of climate change, we need to challenge ourselves more on how much water we actually need to use. While water companies must lead the way in reducing leakage, using water efficiently will help ensure we all have enough water for our homes, to produce food, products and services, and to protect our valuable natural environment for the next generation."

On average, a person in England currently uses 141 litres of water per day, and over the last few years consumption figures have begun to rise. Research by the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) has shown that if this trend continues England could see significant water deficits by 2050.

Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, commented on the wider environmental factors:

"Our tap water comes direct from the ground, and our lakes and rivers where it supports wildlife. It is only by reducing the amount of water we all use that we can reduce pressure on the environment and avoid future water shortages. I’d encourage everyone to take part in the consultation and think about ways you can use less water."

The consultation seeks to establish a personal water consumption target, inviting responses from the public as well as specialists including water companies and academics. It will look at measures on how to achieve this non-binding target and will include exploratory questions around:

  • the labelling of water-using products;
  • how building standards can be improved;
  • the future role of metering;
  • the implementation of behaviour change campaigns; and,
  • how to improve the availability of information for consumers.


The consultation will run for 12 weeks. It will be open to any interested parties in England only. The deadline for response is Friday 11 October 2019.

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