Vast majority of Brits have no idea how much water they use each day

Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod

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Published: 1 September 2020

This Article was Written by: Katie Hill - My Green Pod

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As record numbers of people stayed at home over the bank holiday, Water UK and water efficiency experts Waterwise joined forces to call for more to be done to educate the public about their water use.
 
The call came as new research reveals 46% believe their household uses under 20 litres of water a day (roughly equivalent to taking a two-minute shower).

Our daily water use

The true figure is closer to 142 litres per person per day (compared with 121 litres in Germany) – meaning an average family of four in the UK could use more than 500 litres each day. 

The misconception is most acute amongst the young, with 66% of 18- to 34-year-olds believing their household uses under 20 litres.

Still, the lack of awareness continues throughout the age groups with a quarter (26%) of over-65s answering the same.

Government’s role in water efficiency

To help people understand the amount of water they use, water companies want government to do more to embed water efficiency in our national psyche.
 
They are calling on government to use the Environment Bill to introduce water efficiency measures, such as labels on washing machines and dishwashers to show how much water they use, and smarter building regulations to cut water waste.

Water and the environment

While people are unsure about the amount of water they consume, the vast majority (68%) say they are willing to reduce the amount of water they use at home to help protect the environment.

42% of UK adults are worried about parts of the UK running out of water in the next 25 years.

35% of UK adults say they try to save as much water as possible (only 12% say they don’t try to save any) and  63% of UK adults say they always turn the tap off when they brush their teeth.

The water industry is also doing its part, with leakage down 7% this year to the lowest level since records began.

Companies also have plans to use new tech and innovation to halve leakage by 2050.

‘We hope that the results of this survey, alongside the Water’s Worth Saving campaign will help the public better understand and value water.
 
‘By making small changes such as turning the tap off when brushing your teeth or swapping a bath for a short shower, you’re not only helping to save water but energy, money, as well as protecting the environment and future supplies.’

NICCI RUSSELL
Managing director of campaign group Waterwise
 

Water pressures

The impact of the Covid-19 outbreak has put increased pressure on water supplies. Many more people staying at home, combined with a surge in the number of ‘staycations’, has meant demand for water has been exceptionally high this summer.
 
As a result of the unique circumstances the water industry launched the ‘Water’s Worth Saving’ Campaign earlier in the summer.

The campaign builds on the existing awareness-raising work of water companies, with a goal to educate consumers about the water they are using while offering simple hints and tips to help save this precious resource.

‘The results of this survey illustrate the importance of our Water’s Worth Saving campaign to show the public the value and importance of saving water.
 
‘It’s been a typically unsettled British summer, but we’ve also seen periods of very hot weather in parts of the country. This combined with more people at home and the surge in ‘staycations’ has seen record levels of water demand and has put huge pressure on supplies.
 
‘But there’s things we can all do to save water and small changes can make a big difference. Whether it’s reusing the water from a paddling pool or taking a shorter shower, we all have a role to play in ensuring we have enough water now and for future generations.’

CHRISTINE MCGOURTY
Water UK chief executive

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