Water firms should be able to enforce metering by the end of next year to help save some of the three billion litres that is lost through leaks every day, MPs have said.
The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee in their report said that droughts of the type experienced in summer 2018 will become more frequent and drought resilience will require increasing the supply of water alongside reducing demand.
MP’s found that a shocking three billion litres of water are leaked every day and believes that targets to reduce leakage by 15% by 2025 are not ambitious enough.
The Committee also heard there was strong evidence that water metering helps to reduce water use and detect when leaks are occurring. Currently, only water companies in designated water-stressed regions can make metering compulsory.
Neil Parish MP said:
“We need to move beyond a regional approach to water metering, because there is a national need to conserve water. We call on Defra to allow all water companies the power to implement compulsory metering. That way, companies have the same tools at their disposal to reduce consumption of water in their regions. Where this might lead to significant bill increases, metering should be accompanied by strengthened support for vulnerable customers.”
Among the reports recommendations to the government,MP’s say that by the end of 2019, amend regulations to allow all water companies to implement compulsory metering, using smart meters.The water industry should collectively be aiming to reduce leakage by 50% by 2040, rather than 2050.
They also recommend that the industry regulator Ofwat should review how the complaints process within water companies could be streamlined. This could include a mechanism whereby water companies either automatically pay complainants a fixed sum or escalate complaints to CCWater if the complaint is not resolved by the company within 15 days while they suggest that there should be a review as to whether the Environment Agency has the necessary powers and resources to enforce a drastic reduction in sewage overflows into rivers.