EnvironmentEN2CRaise public awareness on the rational use of water
Environmental regulators are usually required to promote relevant information on water conservation and protection to consumers, so that they are aware of government strategies and are encouraged to use water rationally.
Environmental regulators perform this task alone or in coordination with economic regulators, with the aim of supporting consumers in decreasing their water bills.
This is achieved through different water saving awareness campaigns, often merged to increase overall efficiency, are made available through web-based tools, media, consumer associations, and civil society.
- Water resources information is available and accessible to the public.
- Consumers are informed about government strategies for water efficiency and water conservation.
- Consumers conserve and protect water.
In Panama, Decree-Law No. 2 of January 7, 1997, “which establishes the regulatory and institutional framework for the provision of drinking water and sewerage services,” determines that tariff-setting for drinking water and sewerage service provision shall be based on the principle of rational and efficient use of water resources. Pursuant to this principle, Executive Order No. 436 of April 9, 2010, identifies certain activities such as types of non-rational use (washing unpaved streets or paths, squandering or deliberately wasting drinking water, opening water hydrants without prior authorization from the utility, etc.) and allows the National Public Utilities Authority to apply sanctions in the event of non-rational use.
In Bolivia, in 2018, the Ministry of the Environment and Water developed, through the Vice-Ministry of Drinking Water and Basic Sanitation, the ‘National Policy for the Efficient Use of Drinking Water and Adaptation to Climate Change for Living Well,’ which requires mandatory compliance from central, departmental and municipal authorities, as well as from Drinking Water and Sanitary Sewerage Utilities and the general population.
The policy guidelines are as follows:
- To promote the use of Low Water Consumption Artifacts and Alternative Technologies.
- Service quality management and water loss reduction.
- Additional actions to foster rational water use.
- Communication and information.
Pursuant to the Policy, “Drinking Water and Sanitary Sewerage Utilities (EPSA) must seek to keep loss levels within acceptable limits, and the Authority for the Auditing and Social Supervision of Drinking Water and Basic Sanitation (AAPS) must ensure this.”
In the United Arab Emirates, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), runs an annual three month campaign called ‘let’s make this summer green’ to encourage the public to adopt practices to protect the environment and reduce their carbon footprint.
This is part of the efforts by DEWA to engage customers and members of society in concerted efforts to preserve natural resources and encourage different sectors to adopt conscious and responsible lifestyles to consolidate environmental sustainability and promote sustainable development in Dubai.
The campaign includes tips to reduce electricity and water use such as regularly maintaining air conditioning units, setting them at 24°C, only using energy-intensive appliances outside of the peak load hours of 12-6 pm, cleaning and replacing filters, ensuring all doors and windows are closed to prevent cold air from escaping, unplugging electrical appliances; and irrigating plants and gardens in the morning or evening to reduce evaporation, and closing water valves before traveling to avoid leakages.
Panama: Decree-Law No. 2 (of January 7, 1997) “which establishes the regulatory and institutional framework for the provision of drinking water and sewerage services”
Ecuador: Executive Order No. 436 of April 2010 on rational water use
Bolivia: National Policy for the Efficient Use of Drinking Water and Adaptation to Climate Change for Living Well
UAE: DEWA launches campaign to raise awareness on rational use of electricity, water
Internal capacities needed and the role of partners
Raising awareness on rational use of water needs the internal technical capacity to generate evidence of unsustainable use of water and trends, and communication capacity to be able to systematically package and share the information with the public to ensure positive behavioural change.
Development partners and national environmental authorities could provide technical assistance to regulators in supporting the development of water conservation strategies, including drawing from examples of successful consumer engagement approaches. Media agencies and civil society organizations could also play active roles in supporting regulatory communication efforts.