Image by Anastasia Taioglou


Water Neutrality can be achieved by reducing water use, reusing and recycling water onsite and finally by offsetting the remaining water demand in the same water supply zone or aquifer catchment area.                                                           

Following this hierarchy results in the biggest water savings in the most cost effective manner. Water efficient fittings, smart metering, total washroom control and instilling a water saving culture will result in significant water savings at minimum cost.  Any residual water demand for the new development is then offset by water efficiency improvements on existing properties registered on theWaterBank.

Water Neutrality


Efficient Devices

Smart Metering

Water Saving Culture


Rainwater Harvesting

Greywater Recycling

Blackwater Recycling



Brownfield Developments 

On brownfield developments it is possible in most instances to use water efficient fittings to match historic use. The criteria for water neutrality typically allows the developer to consider historic water consumption between 10 to 20 years prior to the development. Brownfield sites could be golf courses, workshops, offices or event old houses being converted. In some instances a water reuse strategy will need to be adopted, which may include rainwater harvesting or greywater recycling or a combination of both. 

Brownfield Site

Greenfield Developments & Strategic Sites 

Greenfield and strategic development sites are significantly more difficult to achieve Water Neutrality and will require a much more detailed analysis and intervention. Typically this would include establishing significant water demand associated with the site which could be the irrigation of historic farm fields or water use associated with other historic uses of the farm if it was an animal farm. On Greenfield developments a minimum of Steps 1 and 2 of the Water Neutrality Hierarchy, which means that rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling will need to be implemented.  

Greywater recycling will result in a reduction of domestic demand by approximately 45%. However in most instances it is anticipated that for some greenfield developments and strategic developments will also require to offset water.

- Hydraloop- 

45% Water




Offset Water

theWaterBank is a database that matches developers with existing property owners willing to offer their existing buildings for retrofits to achieve significant water reductions. More importantly these savings will need to be made within the same water resource zone inc which the development is proposed. Offsetting is usually done by working in partnership with local organisations, housing associations, the council, businesses, churches and charities. 

Typical ​Options for water offsetting schemes are as follows:


  • All offset schemes will require a water efficiency audit and a detailed water efficiency retrofit design.

  • The developer would then need to donate/pay a fee to a housing association to retrofit their homes or existing businesses.

  • Offsetting by fixing leaks over and above planned work by water companies.

  • Retrofitting school buildings or local hotels to improve water efficiency.

  • Retrofitting water reuse schemes such as in public buildings or schools or private institutions like hotels in the area.

  • Installing smart meters (above what was already planned by water companies) can also help encourage water saving behaviours, and provide information on how much water is being used.

In addition to the above water offsetting activities councils may require an investment into awareness campaigns and promoting water saving behaviours via S106 Obligations.

Greenfield & Strategic Sites

Register On theWaterBank


Water Offset 

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