The UK could need an extra one billion litres of water per day over the next 15 years, according to new research. In the long-term, 4.9 million extra people are expected to live in the South East, this is why the South East could account for around 50% of the UK’s future water demand.
Affinity Water has partnered with Demos on new research to understand perception of the current water crisis, the risks we, as a nation, face as well as the collective action needed to address and prevent water shortages.
In 2021, the government set an aim of reducing personal water use by 110 litres per person, per day by 2050. According to a statement, solutions like fixing a leaky loo can save 400 litres of water per day, while shortening a shower by two minutes can save up to 30 litres.
One in three people are concerned that climate change will lead to an increase in droughts and water shortages in the next five years, the research revealed. Londoners and those in the South of England are most concerned about water shortages, whilst Northern and coastal zones are noticing the impact of more severe weather events, notably storms.
Only 28% of people believe it is the responsibility of individual households to take action to reverse water scarcity in the UK. This extends to businesses too, with 32% of people saying that businesses should have a responsibility to improve the water efficiency of their staff and help them to conserve water if they work from home, this increases to 44% of young people aged 18-34.
The water industry is facing significant challenges to ease the demand for water reduction targets. Research found that 66% of people feel the UK government has as much of a role to play for maintaining water access as water companies.
While just 8% of people believe household appliance manufacturers have a responsibility to take action for water scarcity in the UK, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs estimated that some 1,200 million litres of water per day could be saved per day by introducing mandatory efficiency labelling on washing machines, dishwashers, showers and taps.