Water must be metered, engineers say


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The Independent Online

Water metering should be introduced across the UK to help tackle water shortages, which will only get worse unless action is taken now, Britain's civil engineers say today.

A metering system that charges households more for high water use for non-essential activities such as cleaning the car, with "social tariffs" to protect vulnerable customers, is one of a number of measures urgently needed to relieve Britain's growing water crisis, according to the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).

These range from building new reservoirs to making it easier to share resources between water companies and encouraging homeowners to save water. In its report entitled The State of the Nation: Water, the ICE calls for a special task force to be set up to produce a plan for securing the country's water supplies by 2014.

This year's drought has highlighted the problems affecting the UK's supplies, which, despite the recent heavy rain, are at a "critical" point, the ICE warns. "We are a populous nation facing a growing gap between what we can supply and what our water users need," said Michael Norton, chair of the ICE water panel.