The following text is a direct translation from Danish of p.7 from DANVA's benchmarking report "Vand i Tal 2018" (Water in Numbers 2018). I am refreshing my Danish language skills currently, so I will be publishing water-related translations from time to time.
In october 1986, the TV news showed dead scampi (Nephrops norvegicus) in the Kattegat. The scampi died due to an oxygen depletion episode, caused by large nutrients loading to the coastal environment. This became the symbol of Action Plan for the Aquatic Environment (Vandmiljøplan I aka VMP I) launch in 1987. VMP I required, among other things, reduction in the nutrients discharged to the aquatic environment and this resulted in scaling up the existing and building new wastewater treatment plants. The sight of dead scampi was for many people an eye-opener that sparked a strong focus on the aquatic environment and the natural resources, incl. saving drinking water. Water saving campaigns were launched, which, together with increase in water prices and the introduction of a fee for public drinking water supply (piped water), resulted in steady decrease in water consumption over the past 30 years.
The household consumption has been steadily decreasing since 1987, and for the 31 years has fallen with 40% from 62.89 m3 per person per year to 37.59 m3 per person per year in 2017.
The graph shows some of the laws and regulations that are thought to have influenced the water consumption decrease. Immediately we can see that, the introduction of VMP I, in particular, and the rised environmental awareness among consumers, combined with an increase in the wastewater tariff, had a positive effect and the water consumption began to fall. The introduction of a fee on public drinking water supply, which was initially called “the green 5 kroner” (dk: den grønne femkrone), meant that 1 dkk was added to the water tariff each year in the period from 1994 to 1998. During the same period, household water consumption fell by 10.5%.
The total water consumption in 2017, taking into account households, holiday homes (summer houses), businesses, institutions, and the water losses, averages 61.48 m3 per person per year. Households account for 65% of the total volume of distributed water. A person uses on average 37.59 m3 per year in the household, which corresponds to 103 liters per day. The estimate is based on 59 water supply utilities, which together service 3.2 million inhabitants.
Notes: 1. DANVA publishes their report also in English, so currently you could read the one from 2017.
2. I tried to find out more about this very old story from 1986, but there was not much online... It would be a fun little project to check the old newspapers.