It sounds a silly question in a country like the UK, but it could become a reality if we don’t act now to save water. While Southern Water works to keep taps and toilets flowing this summer, you can help by using only what you need. That way, we can make sure everyone has enough for life’s essentials.

The water-stressed South East

When people think about droughts or water shortages, they often think about hotter parts of the world – like Australia, Africa and the United States. But you may be surprised to hear that the South East of England is officially water-stressed. In fact, the region has had three droughts since 2000 – and they’re likely to happen more often in the future.

So why’s the South East more likely to face water shortages? It’s a case of more people and less water. The number of people living in our region continues to grow, yet the changing climate means our water sources aren’t as reliable. As a result, there’s less clean water to go round.

In hot weather, we all count on water so we can stay hydrated, keep the plants healthy and help the kids cool down. But with 2.5 million people to supply, we all need to do our bit to make sure everyone has enough.

The benefits of saving water

Saving water has lots of perks. Little changes could save you money on your bills, reduce your carbon footprint and protect the rivers and habitats your water comes from. It all makes a difference. Here are just some of them:

  • It minimises the effects of drought and water shortages. Even though our need for fresh water is always increasing because of population growth, the supply we have stays constant. Although water eventually returns to Earth through the water cycle, it's not always returned to the same spot, or in the same quantity and quality. By reducing the amount of water we use, we can better protect against drought in future years.
  • It guards against rising costs. Failing to conserve water can eventually lead to a lack of an adequate water supply, which can have negative consequences such as reduced food supplies and rising costs.
  • It helps to preserve our environment. It costs money and energy to treat and transport water to homes, businesses, farms and communities. Reducing our water usage reduces the energy required to process and deliver it which, in turn, helps to reduce pollution and our carbon footprint.
  • It builds safe and sustainable communities. Firefighters, hospitals, petrol stations, street cleaners, health clubs, gyms, and restaurants all require large amounts of water to provide services to the community. Reducing our usage of water now means that these services can continue to be provided.

What we’re doing

Here at Southern Water, we’re working hard to keep your taps and toilets flowing. We’re finding and fixing leaks around the clock on our 13,905km of water mains – that’s almost the same as the distance from England to Australia! Millions of litres of water are saved each day by the leak alarms on the water meters we’re fitting. Our level of leakage per property is one of the best in the sector – yet we’re not stopping there…

We’ve committed to help customers reduce their average water use to 100 litres per person, per day by 2040. Meanwhile, we’ll reduce leakage by 40% in the next 20 years. Want to help? Report a leak if you spot one while you’re out and about.

Bright ideas to help you save

While you enjoy the sunshine, here are a few simple ways you can use less:

  • Take a break – Skip those non-essential, water-intensive chores like washing cars, patios and windows.
  • Sweat it out – Save the shower until after your workout. Remember, keep it to four minutes and you could save money on your yearly bill too. In fact, one minute less in the shower saves around seven litres a day – over a year that’s around £10 off your bill.
  • Stay cool – Give the paddling pool a little top-up each day instead of refilling it every time – and remember to sprinkle the used water around your garden when you’re done.

Want to see bigger savings? Our freebies can save you from splashing out. Request one of our water-saving home visits and an engineer could visit your home to share water-saving tips and fit up to £100 worth of water-efficient devices, there and then.

Let’s make summer count

Together, we can make sure nobody’s summer is overshadowed by water shortages. If we all do our bit, we can make sure everyone has enough for life’s essentials long into the future.

For more ways to save, check out our tips on how to save water in hot weather