South East Water has joined the nationwide call to gardeners, families and communities who are being asked to save water this summer as the UK basks in record-breaking temperatures.

As part of the Water UK’s Water’s Worth Saving campaign everyone is being encouraged to take some simple steps to cut down on the water they use as demand soars during the current heatwave.

The call comes after the Met Office released its first ever extreme heat weather warning, for large parts of southern and central England, Wales, south-west England, as well as Northern Ireland. All four UK nations recorded the hottest day of the year over the weekend.

The amount of water available in reservoirs and groundwater stores in the South East is good for this time of year, but as summer continues and people are holidaying or staying at home in the region, customers are now increasingly using tap water for recreational activities in the garden.

Everyone can make a difference by following some simple hints and tips to save water.

These include:

  • Don’t wash your car- Save yourself a chore and proudly let your car stay dirty
  • Let nature water your grass- Allow lawns to go golden – it will soon go green again when it rains
  • Save paddling pool water- Top-up and reuse paddling pool water for your plants and grass
  • Put down the garden hose – Use watering cans for lawns, plants and flower beds, instead of garden hoses
  • Running taps are wasteful- Don’t let taps run when brushing your teeth – turn them off
  • Take shorter showers- Knocking a minute or two off to take shorter 4-minute showers
  • Fill your dishwasher before you use it– Don’t use your dishwasher until it is full and save water and energy.

The Water’s Worth Saving campaign, now in its second year, is a joint initiative between water industry trade body Water UK, and water-saving experts Waterwise.

Last year water companies, including South East Water, saw a dramatic increase in household water usage – in some cases 20 per cent above pre-Covid levels– as more people stayed at home during the pandemic.

This summer, with the mercury rising and fewer people taking foreign holidays there has been a surge in ‘staycations’ particularly in the South East with water usage higher than normal.

An increase in hotter drier summers caused by climate change as well as an increasing population mean there is a risk of water shortages by 2050 – saving water has never been more important.

Lee Dance, Head of Water Resources, South East Water said: “We have 2.2 million customers in the South East and if everyone uses a lot of water at once, demand can outweigh the amount of water we are able to treat and get to homes and businesses.

 “We are asking our customers to help us by being mindful of the water they use not only to protect our environment but to make sure everyone gets what they need to keep cool and hydrated. During the hot periods we are producing an extra million litres of drinking water a day - the equivalent of 1.25 million flushes of the toilet.

“Although we're used to managing high demand and have tried and tested plans in place, we are grateful to customers who play their part by using water wisely, so that we can continue to keep water flowing to everyone.”

Peter Jenkins, Water UK Director of Campaigns, said: “Our simple hints and tips, such as letting your lawn go golden, reusing paddling pool water, and using watering cans instead of a garden hose, are easy things we can all do to help conserve water and protect the environment.

“Making small changes to our everyday routines at home, on holiday or in the garden can make a big difference to our water supplies.”

Steven Ramsdale, Met Office Chief Operational Meteorologist said: “The high temperatures are going to continue through a large part of this week, with temperatures regularly in the high 20s and low 30s Celsius by day along with high overnight temperatures.

“The Met Office, in partnership with public health agencies across the UK, has issued an amber extreme heat warning. Many parts of the UK will continue to see heatwave thresholds breached during the week.”

For water saving tips along with water efficiency freebies go to www.southeastwater.co.uk/savewaterinthesun

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