The Water Saving Group was formed for an initial two years in October 2005, but subsequently extended for a further year in order to build on successes. It worked on a programme of measures to promote water efficiency in households, but was not geared specifically towards industrial use.
Following the group’s final meeting yesterday, Defra said ongoing work including Waterwise maintaining and disseminating the evidence base for large scale water efficiency, and working with manufacturers – across all sectors – and retailers on ways to improve information on efficient water provision.
Meanwhile, the Environment Agency is charged with building more awareness and sharing good practice on water efficiency amongst businesses in general.
In July Envirowise turned the spotlight in water wastage in the food sector, when it came out top in a sector-by-sector analysis of the worst industrial culprits.
The UK food sector uses 268 million cubic metres every year for processes, products and cleaning, the equivalent of 71,000 Olympic sized swimming pools, according to a recent report from Envirowise.
It launched a targeted initiative called Rippleffect, through which it said it could help manufacturers reduce their annual water bills by up to one third – which translates at £256,000 per day. This comes with an added bonus to their profitability.
If processors invest in long-term water saving technology, these savings could increase to 50 per cent a year.
At its last meeting yesterday, the Water Saving Group flagged its successes. These include developing an evidence base for water-efficiency measures and interventions; the publication of a methodology for identifying water-stressed areas; and Ofwat’s introduction of activity-based water efficiency targets.
The Consumer Council for Water also completed research on consumers’ attitudes to water and their willingness to take part in water saving schemes.