2 out of 5 people living in water-stressed regions think water is plentiful, research says


41% of people living in parts of England where water resources are under the most pressure think that water is plentiful where they live, according to research by the Consumer Council for Water (CCW).

This despite more regions than ever before being classed as seriously water stressed by the Environment Agency, including the South East, East Anglia and parts of the Midlands.

In the meantime, London and the South East have been classed as seriously water stressed since 2013.

CCW surveyed 1,870 customers in England and Wales to gauge how aware people were of the pressure on water supplies where they live, as well as to explore what customers think their water company should be doing to promote water efficiency.

Dr Mike Keil, Director of Policy, Research and Campaigns at CCW, commented on the findings: “One of the biggest challenges of our time is making sure that there is enough water for people and for the environment – now and in the future.

“Population growth, climate change and our own water use mean that the balance of water resources is shifting to a point where unless we take urgent action the demand for water will outstrip available supplies.

“The good news from our research is that over 80 per cent of customers said they were willing to help save water, and it is brilliant that COP26 is helping to bring attention to these issues – but we must not let that momentum drop.

“The water sector must help people make that link between their water use and protecting the wider environment that depends on it too.

“There are many good regional initiatives, but what we need to see is a stronger effort from the industry as a whole to take a joint, consistent and sustained approach to raising awareness across England and Wales.

“We’ve been holding conversations with professionals in the sector about how companies can better help their customers understand the ways in which their water use impacts on the environment, and we’ll continue to do so to ensure the message is being heard.

“As climate change brings more extreme weather, it is critical that the water sector and customers adapt if we are to ensure current and future generations have access to water and sewerage services that are affordable and that leave enough water in the environment to allow our natural habitats to thrive.

“Our research reveals that more work is needed to inform and empower people to play their part.”

‘WaterVoice Views of current customers on water resources’ is available on the CCW website.