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Local authorities have a vital role to play in water efficiency

Water efficiency is everyone’s responsibility and an important year round message – whatever the weather. But properly qualified and approved plumbers can help local councils to play their part in helping promote and practice water efficiency, explains Julie Spinks

WaterSafe, which operates a national register of approved plumbers, and Waterwise, the leading authority on water efficiency, are working together to raise awareness about how easy it is for everyone to use water wisely.

We’re delighted to be an official partner of the annual Water Saving Week campaign, which runs from 20-24 March. The interactive campaign has a different theme for each day of the week – at school, in the workplace, at home, in local communities, and the garden.

Local councils are among those who can play their part, not just in promoting water efficiency messages to residents but ensuring they also use water efficient taps, toilets and showers in offices and council housing stock.

We want to support them, and other organisations and businesses, to reduce their water waste, not restrict their water use. Around one-third of the water each person uses on a daily basis is wasted so potentially there are significant savings to be made.

WaterSafe-approved plumbers have water efficiency expertise that can save water and money, for example by introducing products such as tap and shower aerators that not only use less water but can lower energy bills too.

We would urge councils to join us in this campaign as they have an important partnership role to play in not only protecting public health and local water resources, but could save considerable sums of money too. We’d also encourage councils to do more to only use the services of qualified WaterSafe-approved plumbers, who are trained to meet the strict regulations for installing pipes and fittings which supply drinking water.

For example, we have recently worked with the NHS, which has produced guidance recommending that hospital trusts only use WaterSafe-approved plumbers. Such leadership is unusual, however, as qualifications are rarely considered by public sector clients and selection often delegated to contractors.

Crucially, WaterSafe is supported by all UK water companies and drinking water quality regulators, and the seven Approved Contractors’ Schemes in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland; so every plumbing business on the WaterSafe register is a member of an approved contractors’ scheme.

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