Droughts in Europe should be a “wake-up call” for the bathroom industry, says UWLA MD

Droughts and water stress across the UK and Europe have made bathroom industry figures urge retailers and end-users to think more about water-saving products in bathroom design.

The Unified Water Label (UWLA) MD, Yvonne Orgill, has seen the drought in Italy as a “wake-up call” for the bathroom industry as the UK could face similar water shortages. Orgill said: “The news from Italy should serve as a wake-up call for the bathroom industry. Climate change is happening here and now and can no longer be ignored.”

At the end of this week, certain parts of England will have a hosepipe ban as July was the driest July in England since 1935. According to new research by Sanctuary Bathrooms in Leeds, water stress and Droughts will increase over the next 20 years.

In the forecast for the cities most affected by water shortages in the UK, Lancaster is at the top with an increase in water stress levels by 80% and could see residents face a water supply drought. London, Birmingham, and other large cities like Brighton, Cambridge, Peterborough and Northampton are in the high range with a 40-80% increase.

James Roberts, director at Sanctuary Bathrooms, said: “These shocking findings illustrate that the UK could be facing a huge problem with water availability across areas of the country in the coming decades, and our collective usage is going to have a direct impact on future generations to come.”

Orgill is urging manufacturers to adopt the Unified Water Label to help consumers understand how much water their products use. She said: “We can make a difference by supporting the industry-led Unified Water Label, a smart tool which can help homeowners use water efficiently. It provides consumers with the information they need to facilitate change, making it more important than ever to make the Label visible and illustrate the benefits.

“We have the support of manufacturers across Europe who have driven forward innovation to deliver bathroom products that use less water and energy. We now want to keep our focus on communication, encouraging everyone in the supply chain to ensure more of these products are used in the home.

“We would urge all of our European partners to support the Unified Water Label so that we can help consumers understand the issues around water scarcity, the link with energy and carbon emissions, and collectively make a positive difference.”

Roberts does see that some of the responsibility lands on the end-user and their bathroom habits. He said: “Our bathroom habits contribute to this, since maintaining good hygiene uses water in most activities, if not all, as part of our daily rituals. But this is something that extends to other areas of the home, and even our workplaces too. It is vital we raise awareness by highlighting key figures and stats – for example, not many people know that a bath uses 80 litres of water in one go!

“Brits are understandably becoming more aware of their eco footprint, and impact on the climate and environment around them, and we are seeing more people focusing on this and looking to shop more savvy and greener for their bathroom. There are small changes that everyone can make to help reduce their personal impact and tackle this issue, whether that is switching water off in-between activities, regular cleaning and maintenance of taps and showers, and even switching baths for short showers.”

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