E8: Efficient use of water

Final Final

Short description

Climate change and a growing population will put increasing pressure on our water supplies. Ambitious reductions in water consumption and leakage have a significant role in maintaining secure supplies and protecting the environment. This indicator shows changes in the efficient use of water, focussing on (a) leakage and (b) per capita consumption. Leakage and per capita household consumption of water in England are existing metrics reported to The Water Services Regulation Authority (Ofwat) and the Environment Agency.

Water companies report leakage and per capita consumption figures annually. From 2020, water companies report their leakage performance against Ofwat’s 2025 target, this is a 3-year average with 2017/2018 as a start point for the 3-year average.

Trend description

a) Water leakage

Between 2017/18 and 2019/20, total water leakage in England averaged 2,897 megalitres per day, 8% lower than the daily average for the 3 years from 2000/01 to 2002/03.

b) Per capita water consumption

Per capita water consumption has also fallen during the time period covered by this indicator, from an average of 152 litres per person per day in the 3 years to 2003/04 to an average of 141 litres per person per day in the most recent 3-year time period (2017/18 to 2019/20).


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This table provides metadata for the interim or final indicator presented above.

Indicator name

Efficient use of water

Indicator reference


Outcome Indicator Framework theme

Natural Resources

Headline indicator status

Not applicable

Relevant goal(s) in the 25 Year Environment Plan
  • Clean and plentiful water
  • Using resources from nature more sustainably and efficiently
Relevant target(s) in the 25 Year Environment Plan
  • Supporting OFWAT’s ambitions on leakage, minimising the amount of water lost through leakage year on year, with water companies expected to reduce leakage by at least an average of 15% by 2025
  • Work with the water industry to set a personal consumption target and agree cost-effective measures to meet it
Position in the natural capital framework
  • Service or benefit associated with natural capital asset
Related reporting commitments
  • Leakage and per capita consumption figures are reported annually as part of a water company’s statutory annual review of its water resources management plan
  • Relevant to Sustainable Development Goals 11 and 13
Geographic scope

England, and by water company area for those with customers wholly or mainly in England.

Status of indicator development


Date last updated

11 June 2021