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Sustainable Water

Despite the perception that it rains all the time in the UK, as a country we are not water secure, and without making changes over the coming years and decades we may begin to see stress on the system. Some water that we use at home is unnecessarily excessively sanitised to meet drinking standards – like the water we use to flush the toilet.

How to make a change in your community

  • Implement a tree planting scheme to reduce chances of flooding in key areas.
  • Design a flood risk management plan for areas most at risk of flooding, which is predict to worsen with climate change.
  • Plant native plants in public spaces to minimise the effects of drought, and ensure excessive watering is not needed. Use organic mulch to reduce the need for excessive watering, as well as improve soil quality.
  • Organise litter picks along canals and rivers to reduce pollution from plastics and other waste entering watercourses.
  • Harvest rainwater for public use, for example through installing water butts in public spaces.
  • Introduce water use reduction systems in new buildings, to meet minimum standard. Installations include flow restrictors, Cistern Displacement Devices, and automatic taps.
  • Promote retrofitting of private and council owned properties and buildings with water use reducing devices.

Example Actions

  • Identify areas at high risk of flooding, and plant native trees to reduce chances of flooding
  • Require flow restrictors in new buildings
  • Apply mulch to flower beds to reduce the need for watering

Useful Links

Severn Trent have a variety of resources on saving water. Most local water authorities will have free resources on their websites including information on saving water.

Waterwise are a non-profit organisation focused on reducing water consumption in the UK.

Suggested Tools

Net Zero Navigator tool for identifying and building plans to reach net-zero in UK local authority areas. 

Join the Climate Emergency Network on Knowledge Hub, for sharing information between local authorities 

Local Government Association – Climate change hub, includes tools such as Greenhouse Gas Accounting tool for identifying baselines.

Support local businesses to pledge to reducing their environmental impact with the West Midlands Net Zero Business Pledge 

Ashden Sustainability plan Toolkit for Councils: 

Bioregional offer Sustainability Consulting for Local Authorities.


The National Audit Office Report into Local Government and Net Zero identified £1.2 billion in specific grant funding available in 2020-2021 for local authorities to act on climate change, and notes this is a sixteen-fold increase on the previous year.

Download an Action Plan so you can set your own goals!

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