A new report is warning that the majority of the UK population are unaware that demand for water could soon outstrip supply – 72% of people believe we have enough water to meet our needs and many engage in high wastage behaviours. The report, supported by Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of England’s Environment Agency and Simon Reeve, author and TV presenter, calls on the British public to be more conscious of their water use.

A nationwide survey of 2,000 British adults has revealed a paradox that 77% believe the UK is a ‘wet and rainy country’ – however, the reality is that the demand for water could soon outstrip supply. The survey is part of the new report – The Great British Rain Paradox – which is calling on people to take action and use water more wisely.

Despite the perception of a water-rich nation, a myriad of factors are putting strain on the UK’s water supply, says the report which has been sponsored by Finish and supported by the Love Water partnership, including the Environment Agency and Water UK, with insights from Cranfield University.

The factors include population growth, increasing household consumption and climate change, which is leading to wetter winters, but dryer summers – highlighted by the fact that February 2020 was the wettest on record and May 2020 was one of the driest.

Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of England’s Environment Agency commented:

“People might wonder how a country with such a reputation for rain like the UK could reach a tipping point where demand for water outstrips supply in just 25 years. But this may become a reality if we don’t take action to save water now.

“The fact is a convergence of factors underpinned by climate change has led us to this frightening prospect. But if we all take concerted action now we can ensure that there will be enough water to go around for generations to come.”

The survey also found that water usage is low down on the list of current environmental concerns by 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%).

Love Water, led by the Environment Agency and Water UK, alongside its coalition of environmental supporters including businesses, water companies and regulators, together with Finish, seek to ensure that the British public have the knowledge to make small changes which together add up to a big impact.

Click here to download The Great British Rain Paradox

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