Tom Reynolds, chief executive of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association, outlines the Government’s recent policy targets for water, welcoming what it could mean for innovative bathroom products.
As we face the environmental challenges of the 21st Century, the need for sustainable actions to protect water supplies has become more critical than ever. Bathroom manufacturers embrace this challenge and dedicate themselves to creating innovative products that are water-efficient and sustainable, keeping them at the forefront of the green movement. This commitment to a sustainable approach to water provides retailers and designers with an advantage in offering the bathroom of the future.
Manufacturers often work ahead of Government policy to provide consumers with access to energy and water-efficient, innovative bathroom products. And as the UK Government looks ahead to the future to secure water supply, manufacturers have been focusing on developing creative ways to usher in an era of water efficiency.
Defra’s recently released Environmental Improvement Plan 2023 (EIP23) is a sizeable document that calls for a plan to provide “clean and plentiful water” in addition to several other overall environmental goals. Underlying this commitment is the Government’s recognition that the UK water system is under unsustainable pressure from population growth, inadequate infrastructure, and climate change effects.
Among the many water targets set within the EIP23, the reduction of public water supply in England per head of population is high on the list. By 31st March 2038, they seek a 20% reduction from the 2019 to 2020 baseline reporting year figures, with interim targets set for 2027 and 2032.
Defra also intends to deliver the water efficiency label (where we still hope the current UWL will be utilised), their Roadmap to Water Efficiency for new homes, and building and water fittings regulations reviews to support water consumption reduction.
Most recently, Defra published its Plan for Water policy paper, which encompasses the measures outlined above with some new actions. In the steps to improve water efficiency, the plan states developing minimum product standards for showers, taps, and toilets, following the launch of the mandatory water efficiency label, which may have significant implications for our sector.
Delivering all these actions will require a great deal of collaboration between manufacturers, water companies and the Government, something the BMA wholly supports. We recognise the intense work it will take. Still, the outcomes could not only deliver reduced water consumption but finally see innovative products like recirculating showers allowed through modernised regulations in the UK marketplace.
Sustainable water consumption in bathroom design is not only good for the environment, but it also makes good business sense. Retailers and designers can capitalise on this by offering products that meet the needs and values of their customers. And, with the indications from the Government for new water targets, this should see new water-efficient products available from manufacturers.
The quest for sustainability is no longer just a trend but a necessity. With Government regulations pushing the industry towards water-efficient products, bathroom manufacturers will rise to the challenge, offering innovative designs that bring about positive change for a brighter bathing future. This direction of travel is only set to grow, and retailers and designers need to stay ahead of the curve to meet the demands of their customers and Government policy. The KBB industry can contribute to a healthier, more sustainable future with a focus on water reduction.