A necessary first step to conserve a precious and irreplaceable resource

The government order, recently announced, requiring water companies servicing one-third of the UK to consider installing water meters in each household and to charge consumers for all the water they use has been broadly welcomed by the Salmon & Trout Association (S&TA). It warns, however, that this is just a first step, and that water metering on its own will not solve the acute problems of water shortages that this country will face due to climate change.

The nine water companies targeted service the south and south-east – areas of dense population which have also suffered from extended periods of lower-than-average rainfall for some considerable time. More than a quarter of rivers, lakes and reservoirs are short of water and will remain so, according to the Environment Agency, leading to serious droughts.

Paul Knight, S&TA CEO, declares, “We have been campaigning for a number of years on environmental grounds for compulsory water metering and whilst the Minister’s announcement is very welcome we feel metering should be adopted nationally. Of course, the last thing we want is to put more pressure on very squeezed household budgets, but it has to be acknowledged that water is a precious resource, not an endless and free commodity – or we will simply run out of it.”

He adds, “It should also be recognised that metering is only part of the solution– a tool in a toolbox that must include increased water storage capacity, demand management and catchment schemes that work with natural processes to slow water down, in order to meet demand as well as protect our native aquatic ecosystems.”