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Water Supply

Volume 477: debated on Thursday 12 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) whether he plans to introduce additional enforcement measures to ensure water efficiency; (209635)

(2) what estimate he has made of the reduction in average daily household water usage in the East of England likely to be achieved on an annual basis by 2021; and if he will make a statement;

(3) what his benchmark figure is for daily household water usage (a) in new developments and (b) in all developments;

(4) what estimate he has made of daily household water usage in Hertfordshire.

A minimum benchmark figure for the design of new homes will be established by revision of the building regulations to be introduced in April 2009. The design performance standard of 125 litres per person per day is proposed. Additional benchmarks have been established in The Code for Sustainable Homes which set out higher levels of water efficiency. The ambition of an average daily household water usage of 130 litres per person per day by 2030, or less, within existing developments, was set out in the Government’s water strategy ‘Future Water’.

Daily household water usage data are reported by Ofwat in their Security of Supply Report. The average per capita consumption for consumers of Three Valleys Water who supply consumers in Hertfordshire was 168 litres per person per day in 2006-07.

Water companies are currently consulting on their draft Water Resource Management Plans; these set out their views on the future level of water consumption between 2010 and 2035.

The new water efficiency requirements to be introduced within Part G of Building Regulations and the review of the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations will require improved water efficiency performance in new and existing premises, and will be enforced through current mechanisms set in both sets of Regulations.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations he has received from the Environment Agency on the sustainable level of daily household water usage. (209656)

The level of sustainable daily household water usage will differ for each area and over time, as it needs to take into account how much water can be sustainably abstracted in one catchment area (which might change over time) and how much water is used by all water users.

The Environment Agency has developed catchment abstraction management strategies (CAMS). Each strategy reflects the amount of water available in the natural environment for sustainable abstraction and looks at whether there is a sustainable balance between it and the amount of water that is licensed for abstraction. Strategies are available from the Environment Agency's website.

The Government's strategy for water, ‘Future Water’, states our ambition to reduce per capita consumption of water through cost effective measures, to an average of 130 litres per person per day by 2030, or possibly even 120 litres per person per day depending on new technological developments and innovation. Any reduction in per capita consumption will contribute towards achieving a sustainable balance of supply and demand, and the Environment Agency has expressed support for the Government's ambition for water efficiency.