Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Water Shortages - An Interview With OFWAT

The WHICH magazine recently published an interview with Regina Finn, Chief Executive of OFWAT, the watchdog for the water utilities industry. There were some key points in her interview which we felt would be of interest to our readers and we have summarised these below:

1. When asked how people can be encouraged to save water, her recommendation was water metering (an issue we covered in our "Don't Waste Water in the Garden" article). As she says, you pay for what you use and water meters make usage transparent. However, this raises another point and a potential difficulty in relying on water metering alone - if only some rather than the majority of people make the effort to save water by cutting their consumption and using water meters, then those who don't will probably face much higher costs being passed on.

2. The question of transporting water from the North of England to the South where the dry drought like conditions are strongest was raised. Her reply was that at £15 billion the cost is too high. So if you live in the South of England there is no ready alternative other than higher prices and carefully conserving water usage.

3. How much of a role a will new technology play in helping fight water scarcity? She replied by grouping together climate change, new house building and water scarcity. In other words all these forces for change acting together.

We think her views are fairly realistic and it is encouraging to see the British government recognising the challenges ahead relating to water usage. However we do think that as water becomes more scarce, those who do not cut down consumption will pay a heavy price. Installing artificial grass and thereby reducing your usage of garden water is surely going to be one of the ways to make sure that you do not pay more for your water than your neighbours do.

For more detailed information you can read the full WHICH report here.