The Bathroom Manufacturer’s Association (BMA) has called for more support for the Unified Water Label following the news that a disabled mother in Yorkshire was unable to pay her water bills.

51-year-old Shirley Widdop, who lives with two of her children, said she is on a water meter, but has been holding back on using water for washing or to flush the WC because her bill had risen by 35%.

Yvonne Orgill, CEO of the BMA, said: “Water is our most precious commodity, one that everyone should have access to, making this news story particularly distressing, but this is not an isolated incident. A report on poverty from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation shows that arrears for water bills are now the most common form of debt for the poorest families.

“The industry must take seriously the issue of saving water in the bathroom. How much water we use in the home is becoming a burning issue, with 22% of all the water used in the home down to toilets and 25% from showers, bathroom are increasingly under the spotlight.

“A study by the Energy Saving Trust estimated that we use 840 billion litres of water each year for showers and flush more than 740 litres down the loo, equating to enough water to fill 300,000 Olympic swimming pools. 

“If we are too achieve the government’s ambitious target of reducing water consumption from around 142 litres to only 80 litres per person per day, we must take action and the Water Label is a great place to start.

“The label provides valuable information on water and energy usage in a very simple and easy to understand format. We do have support from manufacturers, retailers and merchants that recognise the benefits, but we need more awareness and education so that it becomes standard practice to look for the Water Label, and ask for it when it is not used.

“While it is a voluntary scheme, there are currently 12,500 products and 147 brands already using it. We have the opportunity to drive forward real change and to help people like Shirley to have the water they need in their home.”