The British Government’s Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Committee has called for an increase in levels of water metering, as part of a clear and ambitious objective to better manage the nation’s water.
This is in response to the recent Water White Paper, that rejected a national blanket approach to water metering in support of local solutions that should be left to the water companies.
The “Walker Review” recommends 80% metering penetration by 2020, currently approximately 40% of customers across England and Wales are water metered.
The Committee says in it’s report that the Water White Paper is very disappointing as it places such a large emphasis on valuing water, but says so little about metering. As water will become an increasingly scarce resource, the government should encourage people to use water wisely and responsibly through metering.
Water metering could save around 16% of average household demand when universally installed, furthermore metering plays a large part in reducing demand for water.
Wessex Water explained that fitting a meter on a change of occupancy is a valuable way of reducing average consumption by 15% and peak consumption by 20%.
It was also noted by the Committee that bills for poorer households could rise as as a result of metering, as it is measured by the amount of water used and not the value of the property. However, it was decided that a provision to support these households should be addressed , but separately from the clear imperative to increase levels of metering.
Bad debts on customer bills were also covered, which is currently around £15 per bill and the implementation of available provisions to make sure that water companies can recover their debts more easily. Water companies are also urged to reduce wasted water through leakage.