The implementation of Water Conservation Orders (hosepipe bans) in 2018 and again in 2020 and further locally-based water supply restrictions such as reduced pressures and night time restrictions prompted the Water Forum to develop A Framework for Improving Domestic Water Conservation.
The Joint Oireachtas Committee in 2017, recommended that the conservation of water resources should be embedded as a principle of water policy in Ireland, encouraged by incentivising savings and discouraging wastage. Research to support the development of the Framework was undertaken by Dr Sarah Cotterill from UCD and Dr Peter Melville-Shreeve from the University of Exeter to identify how water conservation measures could be implemented in Ireland.
The research report considers the technology that is currently available for domestic water conservation; the legislation related to water conservation; water efficiency labelling; potential incentives for water conservation and education and awareness requirements.
Learnings identify the need for sustained Government-led buy in to deliver the required framework for water conservation and recommendations include:
- A mandatory Government-led water labelling scheme
- Updating of building regulations to specify total water use per building and maximum ratings for fittings
- Introduction of smart metering to raise awareness of how water is used
- Include water use in the BER Certificate
- The establishment of a Water Conservation Team
- Rethink water education to support bottom up understanding of water treatment and supply