The NFU is preparing its response to Defra a consultation that seeks views on whether, and how, personal water use can be improved by reducing waste and increasing efficiency.
We are interested in how personal water use can be reduced because of the positive impact it will have on other users as well as the environment.
NFU members who abstract water for food production have experienced severely challenging conditions during recent drought years whilst domestic users have benefitted from uninterrupted supplies of water. While secure access to water for drinking and sanitary purposes is essential, we believe it is unfair that cars can be washed and lawns irrigated at times when farmers lose access to water used for food production.
The NFU believes that a single Buildings Regulations standard for homes should be applied everywhere and not just in water-stressed areas by discretion.
We also believe that household water metering should be compulsory everywhere. Evidence suggests that customers who pay for their water based on metered use consume 12-22% less water than those whose water charges are based on the rateable value of the home.
The NFU encourages rainwater harvesting and grey water recycling schemes amongst farmers and growers, particularly where farm buildings and horticultural glasshouses are large enough and with significant roof areas to capture useful volumes of water for agricultural (non-potable) use. The economics in terms of return on capital investment are however not attractive without incentives such as grants.
NFU members who would like to respond to the Defra consultation can find more information about measures to reduce personal water use here.
Defra’s consultation closes on Friday 11 October.
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We welcome member comments to help us shape our final response by 7 November.