Date: Embargo to 3 May 2004 Attn: News, Environment Correspondent Contact: Ilana Cravitz, CIWEM Press Officer, 077149 45971 or 07885 425100 Damp squib or high-pressure jet? Government’s record questioned as spring water campaign kicks off An international environmental body today demanded that water be given the same profile that energy is getting in policy and publicity terms. Launching a spring campaign focusing on the value of water, CIWEM Executive Director Nick Reeves expressed disappointment about the Government’s silence on water and the need to use it efficiently, despite some areas of the UK being drier than parts of the Middle East. Indeed, he condemned plans to build thousands of homes in the south-east as relying on unrealistic ‘predict and provide’ models, rather than sustainable principles. There has been public discussion recently about the cost of water, but little about its value. CIWEM wants people to realise the huge amount of effort and expense that goes into looking after water environments, moving water around and treating it so that we can enjoy the benefits. CIWEM is asking the public to look at their relationship with water and to get a free water meter installed for World Environment Day on 5 June, as well as pledging to reduce their water use in 4 specific ways.1 CIWEM also wants water utilities and the Government to get moving on innovative water charges that encourage people to be more efficient with the wet stuff at home. A Water Saving Trust, like the body for energy conservation, is proposed to co-ordinate messages and initiatives to educate the public, and including a discrete water topic in the National Curriculum is tipped as a way to kick-start an early understanding of water’s importance. CIWEM would also like to see increased investment in research into the reuse of greywater (collected household wash water) and treated sewage effluent. Nick Reeves said: “It’s a sad fact that because most people pay a flat rate for their water, they don’t see a cash benefit to saving it. But water’s about more than that – just think of the number of people who enjoy walking by a clean river, fishing in a lake, swimming in the sea, let alone drinking litres of the stuff. “With climate change likely to place increased strain on water supplies in future years, it can’t be right that we continue to allow millions of gallons of perfectly good water to flood away every day,” he added. ENDS Notes 1. To make a pledge for World Environment Day visit: http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/wed/campaign/. 2. Visit www.ciwem.com for the full set of campaign recommendations, CIWEM’s facts and figures on water supply, the law, and concrete measures which would increase water efficiency. 3. CIWEM is the leading professional body for the people who plan, protect and care for the environment and its resources. CIWEM provides educational opportunities and continuing professional development, independent information to the public and advice to government. CIWEM’s members in 96 countries include scientists, engineers and students. www.ciwem.com. Tel. 020 7269 5820. Press: firstname.lastname@example.org. 4. Press tickets are available for the following CIWEM conferences associated with the campaign: Water Framework Directive – Integrating Approaches to Diffuse Pollution, 5th May 2004; Wastewater Reuse – Recapturing a Waste Resource, 17th May 2004; Water Resources Under Climate Change, 18th May 2004. See www.ciwem.com for details or contact email@example.com. 76% of households don’t have water meters – but could have, for free. They’re wasting enough water every day to supply a city the size of Leeds for 3 days, as metered households generally use 10-15% less water than those without. 40% of the water used at home doesn’t need to be the expensively-treated drinking water that comes out of the tap. About 25% of the water delivered each day leaks away.