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How Meters Are Hoped To Limit The Instances Of Water Shortages

Aug 9, 2008
The current estimates of average household water usage state that most homes use around 55,000 litres a year for drinking and bathing. This amount is large enough to fill the average private swimming pool and if bought as bottled mineral water would cost nearly twenty thousand pounds. Thankfully water bills are not as high but have been steadily increasing over the last few years. As household budgets are becoming increasingly stretched it is not surprising that so many people are deciding to switch to water meters as they provide a far more accurate way to calculate charges.

Water companies hold a kind of monopoly over local areas and hence have a great deal of control over what they charge; these companies are however heavily regulated by the industry's watchdog Ofwat. Subsequently competition between the companies is practically non existent. This is why the best way to reduce water bills, other than changing geographical area is to switch to a water meter, much of the time these can be installed for free. Meters will not suit all households however although it will allow the householder to control their own water consumption.

Some industry experts estimate that the average household could save around one hundred and twenty pounds a year by switching to a meter. The general advice is that if a home has more bedrooms than persons residing, a meter would most likely create a saving. Additionally, reports suggest that households that use meters use around ten percent less water than those without. That is not to say there are downsides to switching, one potential flashpoint is that if a leak occurs on the property the responsibility lies with the homeowner rather than the supplier. As a result, insurance packages can be bought to cope with the effects of leaks.

The importance of water meters seems somewhat assured, at least in the southeast and London. The government has released a plan that all households will be forced to install a meter within the next five years. For instance, in the Dover and Folkestone area a plan to introduce twenty thousand compulsory meters is likely to come into fruition. If this plan is a success it is believed that it will be rolled out over a far larger area, especially in regions where water consumption is particularly high. The Folkestone and Dover example is of special importance as this area is regarded to be 'waterscarce'.

The plans for compulsory metering are only set to continue. Industry insiders are aware that the government will ultimately want meters in every home in the nation. Naturally these plans will be enacted first in the areas worst effected by water shortages although in the future all homes could be facing compulsory metering. The plans will be brought into effect slowly from region to region. While it may be an expensive option in the short term, it is hoped that by taking steps now it will be possible reduce water usage and waste in the future.

Ultimately something must be done in order to limit the water used in homes; it is hoped by metering for all this will be possible. Not only should these plans work towards reducing the amount of water used, in effect they should also work towards reducing customers' bills. In a nation where water shortages are becoming an increasingly common occurrence, government action is required in order to reduce usage and waste. Water meters are only part of these plans but will undoubtedly play an important role in preserving this most important of resources.
About the Author
Current affairs expert Thomas Pretty looks into government plans pertaining to water meters and how these devices can help reduce utility bills.
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