DIY retailers, builders’ merchants and manufacturers are to implement a voluntary labelling scheme, to help consumers identify the water efficiency of bathroom fittings such as taps, showers, WCs and baths.

Defra’s Water White Paper ‘Water for Life’, published in late 2011, encouraged voluntary water-efficiency labelling to enable customers to choose more efficient products. As a result, leading retailers and builders’ merchants established the Water Using Products Working Group, facilitated by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), to consider what action they could take to enable this.

From next summer, the labelling – designed to help consumers compare products on a ‘like-for-like’ basis – will appear across a wide range of products and represents a significant step forward for the industry.

Information will be made available in store as well as online. According to the Water Using Products Working Group, this will give the industry time to make the necessary changes for roll-out to consumers in 2014.

“We all have a responsibility to use water wisely so this scheme is great news,” said Richard Benyon, Environment Minister. “Customers will be able to choose bathroom products based on their water-efficiency rating, which may help them to save money on water bills and protect this valuable resource for future generations.

“I am delighted that the hard work and leadership of WRAP, merchants and manufacturers has made our White Paper commitment a reality.”

Steve Lee, Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA) president, said: “Water is one of our most precious yet most undervalued resources and we all have a responsibility to preserve it for the sake of future generations.

“The continuing growth and influence of the Water Label as a means of promoting a change in attitudes towards water has resulted from the hard work, dedication, and cooperation of a group of individuals who have come together to do what is right. I am delighted that the BMA has played a major role in the development of the scheme.”

While a number of major manufacturers, merchants and retailers have already pledged their commitment to the new labelling, the group is keen to encourage others to sign up to the scheme. For more information, visit