Do more to help customers save water, CCW tells companies

Water companies need to do more to help customers value water and use it wisely, CCW said, as it unveiled new research showing 41% of those in water stressed areas think water is plentiful where they live.

The survey of 1,870 customers came ahead of COP26 and after the Environment Agency updated its water stress classifications earlier this year to included many more parts of the country. Those who perceived their area to have plenty of water resources gave the main reason for their answer as it not being something they really know about (48%), followed by ‘it rains/floods a lot in my area' (30%).


80% said they’d be willing to help save water if they lived in an area where resources were short, with older age groups more willing than younger age groups. There were marked differences in the willingness to undertake water saving activities from metered and unmetered customers: 88% of metered customers said they would make sure there were no leaks from their pipework and 83% that they would fit water saving devices, compared to 14% and 22% respectively for unmetered customers.


Customers said the top three actions they would expect of water companies if resources were limited were to ‘fix more leaks, more quickly’ (56%), ‘ask people to use less water and give water saving tips and advice’ (37%) and ‘reward households that save water with a special discount off their bill’ (29%). 69% said their water company should offer a special discount off their bill if they saved water; offer free or discounted water saving devices (61%); and provide a free visit to check their home and supply pipe for leaks (54%).


In other results, 28% were aware of being asked to use less water by their water company, while only 9% recalled having seen water saving tips on social media. 63% of those who recalled seeing adverts social media said they took action afterwards.

89% agreed that every water company should (in principle) offer the same level of help to all customers with leaks on the water supply pipes that customers are responsible for. Respondents most preferred having the first leak repaired for free and being shown how to check for leaks in the future (56%), followed by the company and customer each paying towards the cost of the repair (14%).

Dr Mike Keil, director of policy, research and campaigns at CCW, said: “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.”