Action on water efficiency

New labelling to protect water supplies and cut energy bills.

Taps, showers, dishwashers and washing machines could all have new water efficiency labels, in a move which will help save 1,200 million litres of water a day - the equivalent of 480 Olympic swimming pools across the UK.

The plans, subject to a 12-week consultation, will encourage the purchase of more water-efficient products and help customers manage their water and energy bills.

The proposals aim to introduce a separate water label from the existing energy label for display on toilets, urinals, kitchen sink taps, bathroom basin taps, non-electric shower outlet devices and shower assembly solutions, dishwashers, washing machines and combination washer/dryers.

The consultation is being run jointly by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Scottish Government and other devolved governments.

Environment Minister Mairi McAllan said:

“Climate change is affecting Scotland’s water resources and we must take action to ensure we manage them efficiently. The prolonged dry weather in recent months demonstrated just how precious – and vulnerable - our natural water resources are to a changing climate.

“Simply by improving labelling, we can make it easier for people to check how water efficient their appliances are, and help them choose the efficient and climate-friendly option where they are able.”


Hot water use is the second largest use of energy in a home after space heating. Installing a water-efficient showerhead could save an average household (2.3 occupants) 3,762 litres of water, and £17.44 off their combined utility bills per year. A family of four could save 6,468 litres and about £30 off their utility bill each year. 

In 2021 alone, energy efficiency labelling and minimum performance standards led to energy bill savings of £75 for the average dual-fuel household.

The Scottish Government has worked with Defra and other devolved governments to develop these proposals. Scotland has the highest per capita consumption of water in the UK and as the climate crisis takes hold needs to address this with urgency.

Household water bills in Scotland are currently set by reference to Council Tax Band.  Whilst using less water is not reflected immediately in bills, by using less water Scottish Water’s costs associated with sourcing, treating and distributing drinking water will reduce.  These savings will be taken into account when charge levels are set.

Joint consultation on Water Efficiency Labelling


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