The water industry must change to become more sustainable and embed sustainability into its every practice, Ofwat's chief executive has said.
Speaking at the International Water and Effluence Exhibition (IWEX) at Sustainabilitylive! in Birmingham, Regina Finn said change was essential to ensure that future generations enjoyed the same quality of water available today in the UK.
Ofwat has introduced for the first time 25-year Strategic Direction Statements for all companies to set out their sustainability aspirations, which must also be incorporated into their five-year plans.
Last week, the watchdog recommended that competition in the water and sewerage industries could drive more sustainable practices and innovations.
Tariffs for water users could also be on the horizon which will help them to recognise the impact of their water demand and cut usage.
Ms Finn said: "We believe that we need an industry that can tackle the challenges that we are facing, and that means change."
A series of trials for introducing tariffs are already in planning, she told delegates, and have been given the green light by Ofwat.
This will include tariffs for times of the day and seasons, as well as for social groups.
Voluntary sustainability indicators for companies could also be introduced, and Ofwat is currently working on proposals.
"We think that understanding where individual companies sit in relation to each other and how they are doing would be very helpful and we will be continuing to work on that," Ms Finn said.
She added: "It's essential that we have a sustainable service, not just for us and our children, but for our children's children to have the same level of safe, high quality service that we have been able to enjoy."
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