Love Water: Majority of Brits unaware of pressure on water resources

It never rains, it pours – or that’s how it might seem to the majority of us in the UK who believe we live in a wet and rainy country, according to a new nationwide survey.

The Great British Rain Paradox also reveals that 72 per cent of people believe we have enough water to meet our needs – when in reality our resources and the environment we take it from are coming under increasing pressure.

Despite our perception of being a water-rich nation, a myriad of factors are putting a huge strain on the UK’s water supply, says the report which has been sponsored by Finish and supported by the Love Water campaign.

That’s why CCW – and other campaign partners including the Environment Agency and Water UK – have been spearheading efforts to help consumers understand where their water comes from and why we need to value every drop we use.

Population growth, rising household consumption and our more volatile climate are making it harder to ensure there is enough water to go round without causing harm to the rivers, streams and wider environment that depend on it too.

The average amount of water each of us uses every day has risen from 85 litres in the 1960s to about 143 litres per person today. But if no action is taken by 2050, an extra 3.4 billion litres of water per day will be needed to plug the gap in our public water supply.

Karen Gibbs, Senior Policy Manager at CCW, said: “In the past few months we’ve seen just how unpredictable our climate has become but one thing we can be sure of is that we need to take action now to ease the risk of water shortages in the next 30 years.”

“Making every drop we use count will help to protect wildlife and the wider environment, as well as ensuring there will be enough water for everyone – now and in the future.”

The coronavirus outbreak provided a stark reminder of how important access to clean water is – being the first line of defence when it comes to protecting our health through regular handwashing, general hygiene, as well as staying hydrated.

And yet the survey found that water usage is a long way down the list of current environmental concerns among the public, with plastic pollution (39%), energy consumption (22%) generation of food waste (16%), and carbon footprint (11%) all considered more important than water consumption (10%).

However almost 9 out of 10 people said they would be willing to reduce their daily water consumption by a third if they knew how.

That’s why CCW believes it’s vital water companies lead the way by reducing leakage – but also providing a regular stream of practical advice to make it easy for their customers to save water.

The good news is small changes – like shaving a minute off your shower time or not running the tap while you brush your teeth – can make a huge difference and you’ll find lots of more advice on CCW’s water-saving section.

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