An influential Commons select committee today calls for water companies to have powers for compulsory water metering – echoing the National Infrastructure Commission’s own findings.

Currently, compulsory water metering is only permitted in water-stressed areas.  But today’s report by the House of Commons environment, food and rural affairs select committee argues that this option should be extended to water companies covering the country as a whole.

This matches findings in the National Infrastructure Commission’s Preparing for a Drier Future report, which recommended an ambitious, affordable package of measures to increase drought resilience.  This included having a long-term target to halve water leakages, enabling companies to roll out smart water metering beyond water stressed areas, and investing in new water supply infrastructure which will still be needed to meet future demand.

A spokesman for the National Infrastructure Commission said:

“Today’s report highlights the real need for urgent action to better protect our water supplies, particularly as we face an increased risk of drought.  We’re therefore pleased to see the environment committee reaching the same conclusion as us, that widespread roll out of smart water metering across the country is a key part of that.

“We also share the committee’s ambitions for halving the amount of water lost through leakages.  A long-term target will unlock new technologies which, in turn, will reduce the costs and the potential impacts on customers’ bills.

“These measures, combined with investment in new infrastructure such as reservoirs, comprised an affordable package of measures for Government to consider.  On top of this, our new study into the regulation of our utilities will also include water, and we look forward to hearing from water companies, regulators and others how we can improve the system to make it more resilient for years to come.”