Learn How the UK Tackles Water Scarcity Issues Using Water Fittings Regulations

Learn how the UK tackles water scarcity problems using water fittings regulations and about NSF’s water fittings certification scheme for the UK.

Water scarcity is one of the major problems we’ll be facing in the coming decades. The reduction of water resources, increasing world population, improving living standards and expansion of irrigated agriculture are the main driving forces of the rising global demand. At the current consumption rate, this situation will only get worse. More than five billion people could suffer water shortages by 2050, according to the United Nations.

As individuals, we are responsible for minimizing our internal water footprint through our water consumption behavior. However, countries have an even bigger responsibility through the development and implementation of strong regulations and enforcement that will help minimize water waste and undue consumption. Legislation has proved to be the most successful tool in implementing more sustainable water use.

Have a leaking tap or toilet/water closet? Worried about the flushing volume of your toilet/water closet? Products sold in the UK market need to pass through rigorous performance and life-cycle tests to ensure a longer product life cycle.

Any plumbing product in contact with drinking water needs to comply with the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999 and equivalent legislation in Scotland and Northern Ireland. The regulations also apply to various products that are not in direct contact with drinking water, since the requirements cover waste and misuse aspects of these product too if they use water that comes from a public water supply. For example, they cover food service products that are connected to the water supply, as well as steam ovens and floor heating systems.


Although the regulations are crucial, implementation and controls are equally important. A vigorous certification scheme with regular audits and product testing to maintain the high standard of water fittings and materials was needed.

To meet this need for a comprehensive scheme to make sure the requirements of the regulations were met and that products continued to comply after approval is granted, we developed NSF REG4 certification in 2019. This robust scheme ensures the highest product quality and compliance with the legislation in all parts of the UK.

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