The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) welcomes the focus on water efficiency in the Government's recently launched Water White Paper - Water for Life - in an effort to sustainably manage the nation's water resources.
HTA Policy Manager Gary Scroby comments, "We are encouraged that the focus is not purely on restricting use. The White Paper places great emphasis on the need to adopt water-efficiency measures including the retro-fit of domestic homes. The point is for all water users to use water sensibly, thereby protecting the environment and reducing consumer bills. HTA growers already take a responsible and economical approach to water use, and it is essential that any future management regime retains a guaranteed supply to those members."
He continues, "The White Paper also encourages the water industry to engage more closely with consumers to help spread the water-efficiency message. We have pushed for this since the widespread hosepipe bans of 2006 and we are delighted to have recently received an invitation from Bristol Water to join their Local Engagement Forum to help shape their business plan for 2015-2020."
Bristol Water is one of several water companies who have expressed an interest in a phased approach to water restrictions in the garden in times of drought. This approach has successfully achieved water savings in several other countries and the HTA is currently developing a pilot project to run in the UK in 2012. Importantly, this has support in principle from Defra and the Environment Agency who were both present at the initial meeting.
Gary Scroby adds, "We know from experience the substantial damage that hosepipe bans can cause our industry. Unless we have an extremely wet winter, it is likely that water restrictions will occur next spring. We would have preferred an explicit reference in the White Paper to encourage closer co-ordination between the water and garden industries, but we will continue to work with individual water companies that are keen to proactively communicate with their gardening consumers."