Water and trade dominate bathroom headlines

18/04/2012 | Water and trade dominate bathroom headlines in Olympic Year Summer is on its way and the Olympics are just around the corner and two main messages seem to be dominating our industry headlines. The first involves us all – it’s the concern over our water supply. We don’t have enough of the wet stuff and the situation seems to be getting worse. And the second is a little more optimistic since the chatter amongst the movers and shakers in the industry suggests that improved business may be on its way. Lack of water in some areas is causing major concern. Half of our English counties are now officially in drought. There is a mismatch between supply and demand and Drought Orders may last well into 2013. Trevor Bishop, head of water resources at the Environment Agency, says that ‘A longer term drought, lasting until Christmas and perhaps beyond, now looks likely. While we’ve had some welcome rain recently, the problem has not gone away, and we would urge everyone to use water wisely now, which will help to prevent more serious impacts next year.’ Some hosepipe bans are now in place but more grandiose schemes have been put forward to rebalance the water supply. London Mayor, Boris Johnson, suggests that water could be piped from the north to the south ‘using the principle of gravity to bring surplus rain from the mountains to irrigate the breadbasket of the south.’ Others suggest the building of huge sea-water desalination plants. Both these ideas come at a huge cost to the tax payer and to the environment. A more simple plan, which would be cost effective, a major boost to the industry and welcomed by householders is the BMA’s well-publicised ‘Bathroom Scrappage Scheme.’ Yvonne Orgill, CEO of the BMA says ‘we have talked about a scrappage scheme for a number of years and we have lobbied hard to get it adopted. The scheme will rid millions of households of those awful water-wasteful products installed decades ago. Grant aid, similar to that used for loft insulation or boiler scrappage will, at a stroke, reduce water and energy consumption and reduce carbon emissions. We also believe that getting the public to change their attitudes and behaviour towards water will make a huge difference.’ The Water Label – a web enabled database showing the water consumption of the very best bathroom products can be viewed at www.water-label.eu On an optimistic note there does seem to be a bit more of a buzz in bathrooms. Recent exhibitions have been alive with the chatter that since the start of 2012 there has been a slight uplift in activity in the industry. It’s all still very fragile but in some quarters its beginning to look like the pent-up demand for bathroom renovation is gradually being released. Maybe it’s the Olympic effect. Maybe we are beginning to see an end to the recent gloom and an uplift in sales. Hopefully 2012 will be our year. ________________________________________

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