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Let’s wake up and act on water efficiency

Jo Osborn, Policy and Projects Manager at Waterwise, discusses the launch of the new water efficiency strategy, setting a vision of ‘A UK in which all people, homes and organisations are water-efficient’.

October 2022

As I sat down to write this I needed a warm mug of tea for a caffeine boost and this morning required three alarm clocks dotted around the room to drag me out of bed - where did summer go?

October, it’s the time of year when leaves turn golden and raincoats are dusted off - and everyone forgets about worrying about water.

But I wonder if 2022 might be and should be different? Will the images of parched earth still surrounding many of our reservoirs, or the fact that the Met Office recorded up to the end of summer 2022 as the driest year since 1976 for both the UK and England, make us act differently? Maybe these are the water alarm clocks that shake us from our slumber this winter.

It is therefore timely that Waterwise published a new UK-wide water efficiency strategy through to 2030 - setting a vision of ‘A UK in which all people, homes and organisations are water-efficient’.

Publishing the strategy was celebrated with more than 50 different organisations joining us at the London Wetlands Centre, a location that gave a visual and audible signal of why protecting our water environment is so vital.

What was wonderful about the event was that, as well as an amazing view and sound of geese calling, there was a huge positive energy in the room. Everyone was excited to talk about what they were doing, or could do to help and there were connections being made and commitments pledged.

Waterwise developed the strategy in our capacity as the independent organisation which leads on ambition for a water-efficient UK. The strategy is itself independent of the UK governments, water sector and other organisations - but was developed through engagement with all parties.

This engagement has helped build a strategy that encourages everyone to be part of and get behind - in fact don’t get behind it, you can lead on it!

Setting out 10 clear strategic objectives through to 2030, the strategy outlines the reasons for these, what needs to change, who needs to be involved and how we will track progress.

The objectives reflect the importance of everyone being involved to succeed. We need to see leadership from Governments, regulators, the water sector and business leaders. There are actions that will help us make water efficiency easy for everyone - let’s keep innovating, whether that’s rainwater harvesting through to ending leaky loos. And there is ongoing engagement, let’s make sure everyone has access to useful, timely information about their water use and the tools to be able to make savings.

As we published the strategy our Managing Director at Waterwise, Nicci Russell summed it up. She said: “We need to ensure we have enough water for people, the economy and the environment now and in the future - and this quite simply won’t happen unless all of us step up our game on water efficiency. Today we’re launching the solution, which we’ve come up with collectively. This strategy could save at least 1,500 million litres of water every day by 2030 - the equivalent of building 10 new reservoirs across the UK.”

For me this was a brilliant wake up call - no alarm necessary.

Thank you to all the individuals and organisations who worked with us to help shape the strategy. We’re now really excited about working with you all to transform the UK into a place in which all people, homes and organisations are water-efficient.

Read the full strategy and for details on how to get involved visit:

Jo Osborn is Policy and Projects Manager at Waterwise. Photographs by Ady Kerry, courtesy of Waterwise. 

Follow: @Osborn_Jo & @Waterwise

The opinions expressed in this blog are the authors' and not necessarily those of the wider Link membership.