The Environment Agency has called for domestic water meters to be compulsory in England and Wales, stating that this would result in lower water consumption. On average, it has been shows that homes with metered supplies use between 10 and 15% less water than homes on a standard flat rate for their water, however only 30% of the population currently has a water meter fitted.
With less water per head in England and Wales than most Mediterranean countries despite the reputation for being wet and rainy, largely due to dense population and high demand for water, it is more important than ever that action is taken to help reduce water wastage. The South East of England is an area of particular concern, as in addition to consuming more water than the national average, many water sources in the area have been over-used, which has resulted in the area being recently labeled as ‘water stressed’ in the CAMS assessment of 2007.
It is proposed that homes in seriously water stressed areas should be fitted with compulsory water meters by 2015, however the Environment Agency accepts that some water companies may not be able to achieve this until 2020.
People become more aware of the amount of water they use when on a metered supply, and are more likely to look at ways of saving water to reduce the size of their bills. It is believed that there is a greater incentive to people to make their water go further and not waste it unnecessarily when it is their pocket that feels the impact otherwise. However, people pay for electricity on a meter, and still leave lights on when there’s nobody home and electrical goods on standby… so will installing meters really work or will it just mean higher bills and more accurate figures to show just how bad we are at saving water?