Latest figures

2016/17:

Of a total 2,442,303 billed domestic properties, 447 were metered and 2,441,856 unmetered.

Trend
At a glance
  • Very few domestic properties have a water meter installed
  • Actions are being implemented to reduce demand and improve efficiency
Background

This briefing note does not relate to an indicator developed with the original set in 2016.

Although Scotland currently has surplus water capacity, the situation varies regionally and some supply areas are in deficit (ASC, 2016a). Projections indicate increasing pressure on resources in future, with water availability reducing because of climate change, coupled with increasing demand due to population growth (ClimateXChange, 2016).

Scottish per capita consumption figures have remained fairly stable over the last decade, and are still higher than other North-Western European countries; Belgium, Denmark, England, Germany and the Netherlands (ASC, 2016a).

Metering is considered one way to manage demand for water. In Scotland very few domestic properties have water meters installed – less than 500 out of 2.4 million properties, compared to approximately 45% of domestic properties in England (ASC, 2016b).

However, while metering is not promoted in Scotland, there are a number of ongoing and planned measures to improve efficiency and reduce water consumption (Scottish Water, 2011; Scottish Government, 2017).

In 2016/17, out of 2.4 million billed domestic properties, 447 were metered (Scottish Water, 2017a).

Chart 1 Uptake of metering by billed domestic properties, 2002/03 to 2016/17

Source: Scottish Water’s Annual Returns to the Water Industry Commission for Scotland

The number of metered properties has remained very low throughout the period, and has fallen year on year since 2008/09 although this decline has levelled off over the last three years.

Year

Unmetered domestic properties

Metered domestic properties

Total domestic properties

2002/03

2,196,960

790

2,197,750

2003/04

2,218,429

610

2,219,039

2004/05

2,189,396

460

2,189,856

2005/06

2,205,319

481

2,205,800

2006/07

2,287,706

595

2,288,301

2007/08

2,317,718

530

2,318,248

2008/09

2,335,284

604

2,335,888

2009/10

2,354,891

573

2,355,464

2010/11

2,369,860

528

2,370,388

2011/12

2,382,151

510

2,382,661

2012/13

2,394,277

488

2,394,765

2013/14

2,402,987

477

2,403,464

2014/15

2411359

459

2411818

2015/16

2423640

452

2424092

2016/17

2441856

447

2442303

Table 1 Number of metered and unmetered domestic properties

Source: Scottish Water’s Annual Returns to the Water Industry Commission for Scotland

Scottish Water is implementing a number of measures to reduce water consumption. These include:

Water Efficiency Trial

The trial included 2,000 households. Water meters were installed to record the impact of various measures/combinations of measures upon water usage. These measures included advice on reducing water consumption, installation of water efficient devices, and financial incentives. Following analysis of the data, a report will be produced in autumn 2018.

Water Saving Pack Project

Between 2017 and 2021, Scottish Water is engaging with 2% of Scottish householders through distribution of 49,000 water saving packs, that include an advice brochure and, depending on suitability, water efficiency devices. The packs are delivered in partnership with the Energy Saving Trust who manage Home Energy Scotland, the customer facing brand of the Scottish Government’s energy efficiency programmes. Their network of energy advisors provide both water efficiency and energy advice. Scottish Water hopes to scale up this programme in their next business plan.

Since 2013, Scottish building regulations mandate water efficiency measures for new buildings and new work to existing buildings (Scottish Government, 2017).

ASC, 2016a. Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme: An independent assessment for the  Scottish Parliament. Adaptation Sub-Committee of the Committee on Climate Change. Available at: https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/scottish-climate-change-adaptation-programme-an-independent-assessment-for-the-scottish-parliament/.

ASC, 2016b. Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme : An independent assessment for the Scottish Parliament Committee on Climate Change. Technical Annex B. Adaptation Sub-Committee of the Committee on Climate Change. Available at:  https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/scottish-climate-change-adaptation-programme-an-independent-assessment-for-the-scottish-parliament/.

ClimateXChange, 2016b. CXC Indicator BW8: Domestic water usage. Available at: http://www.climatexchange.org.uk/adapting-to-climate-change/indicators-and-trends/extreme-weather/bw8-domestic-water-usage/ .

Scottish Government (2017) Climate Ready Scotland: Scottish Climate Change Adaptation Programme. Third annual progress report 2017. Available at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0042/00426516.pdf

Scottish Water (2017a) Scottish Water Annual Return 2016/17 Overview. Scottish Water. Available at: https://www.watercommission.co.uk/UserFiles/Documents/Overview_1.pdf

Scottish Water (2011) Water Efficiency Plan 2011-2015. Scottish Water. Available at: http://www.scottishwater.co.uk/assets/domestic/files/you%20and%20your%20home/water%20efficiency/swwaterefficiencyplan.pdf

Information presented in this document was provided by Scottish Water.