Stop. Water. Don’t shoot – educating on water efficiency

Start to educate consumers before Government takes charge

01 Oct, 19

Editor of Kitchens & Bathrooms News Philippa Turrell says start educating consumers on water efficiency before being enforced by Government 

Stop.Water. Don't shoot


When the Water Label was introduced around a decade ago, the bathroom industry was warned if it didn’t voluntarily help educate consumers on water use, then the Government would take on the task.

Now, 10 years later, among its many pressing tasks this month, the Government is consulting with industry and public to encourage consumers to reduce water use.

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It must be music to the ears of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA) which has long urged all channels of the industry from retailers to manufacturers to join forces to promote sustainability.

With manufacturers already having invested in creating water-saving products, from reduced flush WCs, to the likes of air injection showers, the BMA believes retailers should do more to highlight sustainability, recyclability and the water efficiency of the products they sell.

In a recent consumer survey, the BMA found 80% said water efficiency was quite to very important when purchasing a WC or shower, yet almost 40% didn’t know how much water the products used.

It highlights lucrative sales opportunities for bathroom retailers.

However in our recent Twitter chat #KBNConvo which discussed sustainability, bathroom professionals countered few consumers asked about water efficiency.

They said for sustainability to become more important in bathroom project sales, it must be driven by manufacturers and changes to legislation.

In fact, Nick McNally of Kitchens by Nick said: “Minimum sustainability requirements need to be toughened”, adding: “It is hard to change people’s mind sets, so force them to change.”

Certainly there is a requirement to reduce water use, as Government reports people are using 141 litres a day and consumption is beginning to rise.

According to research by the National Infrastructure Commission, if this continues England could have water deficits by 2050.

But is it now a case of careful what you wish for, with Government planning “ambitious but appropriate targets” for personal water use by 2050?

As part of its consultation, Government will look at measures on how to achieve the targets including how building standards can be improved, the future role of water metering, campaign and education for consumers as well as labelling of water-using products.

Could it see a real step change for bathroom retail over the next 30 years, with as much attention paid to water use as aesthetics of a project?

Surely now is the time to get a step ahead and start to educate consumers on water-saving bathrooms before retailing behaviour needs to be enforced.