According to new research by Kingfisher, owner of B&Q and Screwfix, in partnership with economics consultancy Cebr, seven out of 17 regions in England are set to experience severe water stress by 2030, rising to 12 by 2040.
The survey finds that Brits significantly underestimate how much water they use per day, estimating on average, they use just 57 litres, compared to the reality, which is 144 litres.
The West Midlands, London, parts of the South West, the East Midlands, the East of England, and the South East are all regions expected to be severely impacted unless there are developments in water resilience in the near future. Regions in the South of England are expected to be the worst affected.
Daily water consumption in homes across England has risen in recent years, with each person using 144 litres in 2021/22, compared to 141 litres in 2017/18. That is equivalent to more than four large weekly wheelie bins worth of water. To help close the looming gap between supply and demand, the Government is targeting a reduction to 122 litres per person per day by 2038, falling to 110 litres by 2050.
Over half of Brits (54%) admit leaving the tap on while brushing their teeth, wasting approximately six litres per minute. 40% of Brits say they shower for eight minutes or longer, with only one in four (25%) showering for under five minutes. More than 40% of water in the home is used for showers, baths and handwashing, with toilets using around 30%.
Despite the majority of people underestimating how much water they use in their homes, almost four out of five (79%) Brits say that reducing the amount of water they use is important to them. Three in four (76%) believe saving water is more important now than a decade ago. However, over half (53%) say they wish they had more information on how to save water.
Thierry Garnier, CEO of Kingfisher, said: “We all have a role to play in conserving water. Making simple and affordable changes in our homes can have a huge impact, from installing water butts to collect rainwater for the garden to fitting tap aerators or low-flow shower heads. Governments can also help by encouraging the rollout of smart water meters and supporting the public to be more informed about water. By taking action now, we can put our water usage on a more sustainable path and safeguard this essential resource for the future.”
Many Brits have already started changing their homes to save water. The most popular measures they have taken include installing water-efficient toilets (31%), purchasing a water butt (26%), fitting low-flow shower heads (18%) and using mulch or bark chips on garden beds (13%). However, a third (31%) said they had not taken any water-saving measures in their home.
To help people looking for more information, Kingfisher experts have compiled several tips to help households reduce the amount of water they use in their bathrooms each day:
- Shorten your showers – reducing your shower from eight minutes to five can save up to 30 litres of water.
- Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth – a running tap wastes approximately 6 litres per minute4.
- Upgrade your toilet – Consider switching to a dual flush toilet, with two buttons allowing different quantities of water to flow. The lower flush option typically uses up to 4-6 litres of water per flush. Alternatively, try installing a cistern displacement device in your toilet – these can save up to 5,000 litres of water a year4 and are often available free of charge from your water company.
- Install low-flow shower heads – these can save up to 60 litres of water per shower.
- Fit a tap aerator – this small, simple device mixes water with air, reducing the flow but maintaining the water pressure. They are cheap and easy to install and can save significant amounts of water. You can also buy taps with aerators already fitted.