chapter  13
Cutting demand
Pages 15

Reducing the amount of water consumed is clearly a logical means of alleviating or even avoiding water shortages. It is a way of reducing processing costs for industries. It is also a means of increasing water security for companies. Both were motivations for British industry in the 1970s, especially car manufacturers, following water cut-offs during the severe drought of 1976. During recent decades it has become a widely held policy for governments and private water companies, aimed primarily at reducing the costs of infrastructure and water processing. More recently still, it has become an environmental issue. Campaign groups like Friends of the Earth argue that we have a moral duty to interfere as little as possible with nature. Later in this chapter, Dr David Brooks presents their views and describes some of the ‘soft path’ solutions being tested in ‘Water Soft Paths: the route to sustainable water security’. The director of the Pacifi c Institute, Dr Peter Gleick (2003), says a transition is under way towards a soft path that complements centralized infrastructure with lower cost, decentralized community-scale systems employing open decision making, water markets and equitable pricing, as well as effi cient technologies and environmental protection.