Seven regions in England will face severe water stress by 2030 as Brits significantly underestimate their daily water usage

  • New analysis reveals seven out 17 regions1 in England are set to experience severe water stress by 2030, rising to 12 by 2040.
  • Water usage in the home has risen 2% since 2017/18, despite Government targets to significantly reduce it.
  • Brits significantly underestimate how much water they use per day, estimating on average they use just 57 litres, compared to the reality which is 144 litres.
  • Kingfisher experts offer tips to help households reduce water usage in the home.

By 2030, seven regions1 in England are set to be severely water stressed, according to new research by Kingfisher, owner of B&Q and Screwfix, in partnership with economics consultancy Cebr2. The insight comes as Kingfisher aims to raise awareness of water scarcity and support its customers to save water in their homes.

The West Midlands, London, parts of the South West, the East Midlands, the East of England, and the South East are all regions expected to be severely impacted, unless there are developments in water resilience in the near future. Regions in the South of England are expected to be the worst affected. By comparison, the North West, the North East and Yorkshire & the Humber will be less vulnerable to severe water stress.

By 2040, the year the Environment Agency has warned that England risks running short of water, the number of seriously water stressed regions is on course to rise to 12, out of a total of 171. Currently, nowhere in England is considered to be water stressed. Water stress occurs when the demand for water exceeds the available local supply and is being exacerbated by the effects of climate change and population growth.

Daily water consumption in homes across England has risen in recent years, with each person using 144 litres in 2021/22, compared to 141 litres in 2017/18. That is equivalent to more than four large wheelie bins worth of water each week. To help close the looming gap between supply and demand, the Government is targeting a reduction to 122 litres per person per day by 2038, falling to 110 litres by 2050.

A separate survey by Kingfisher of 3,000 UK adults3 reveals that Brits are significantly underestimating their daily water usage, with two thirds (66%) estimating that they use less than 140 litres a day while over a quarter (29%) did not feel able to guess. On average, people thought they used just 57 litres of water each day.

Over half of Brits (54%) admit to leaving the tap on while brushing their teeth, rising to 70% in London, one of the regions most likely to face future water stress. A running tap wastes approximately six litres per minute4. Four in ten Brits (41%) say that they run their dishwasher when it is not fully loaded, including six in ten Londoners (61%).

40% of Brits say they shower for eight minutes or longer with only one in four (25%) showering for under five minutes. The average shower head uses 12 litres of water per minute4, meaning that an eight-minute shower will use up to 96 litres of water while five minutes will use around 60 litres. More than 40% of water in the home is used for showers, baths and handwashing with toilets using around 30%.

Despite the majority of people underestimating how much water they use in their home, almost four out of five (79%) Brits say that reducing the amount of water they use is important to them. Three in four (76%) believe saving water is more important now than it was a decade ago. However, over half (53%) say they wish they had more information on how to save water.

Thierry Garnier, CEO of Kingfisher, said: “Across Europe, we are experiencing more extreme weather, leading to increasing water scarcity in many regions. As the impact of climate change becomes more apparent, measures such as hose pipe bans are set to become much more common, with increasingly strong measures needed to reduce demand.  

“We all have a role to play in conserving water. Making simple and affordable changes in our homes can have a huge impact, from installing water butts to collect rainwater for the garden to fitting tap aerators or low-flow shower heads. Governments can also help by encouraging the rollout of smart water meters and supporting the public to be more informed about water. By taking action now, we can put our water usage on a more sustainable path and safeguard this essential resource for the future.”  

Many Brits have already started to make changes to their homes to save water. The most popular measures they have taken include installing water efficient toilets (31%), purchasing a water butt (26%), fitting low flow shower heads (18%) and using mulch or bark chips on garden beds (13%). However, a third (31%) said they have not taken any water saving measures in their home.

As part of its commitment to being a responsible business, Kingfisher has a target for 60% of its total sales to come from Sustainable Home Products (SHPs) by the end of 2025, including 70% for its Own Exclusive Brands (OEB). SHPs are assessed against rigorous guidelines and include a range of water efficient products such as low-flow taps and water butts made from recycled plastic.

Kingfisher’s product design team has created a number of OEB products engineered to reduce the amount of water used in the home. Its range includes taps with in-built aerators, a feature that has been added without a price increase for customers, while every toilet now has a 6L/3L dual flush, using significantly less water than a single flush toilet. In the garden, numerous Verve products support customers to reduce water waste, such as the Verve water meter counter which helps monitor water consumption.

To help people looking for more information, Kingfisher experts have compiled a number of tips to help households reduce the amount of water they use in their homes each day:


  • Shorten your showers – reducing your shower from eight minutes to five can save up to 30 litres of water.
  • Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth – a running tap wastes approximately 6 litres per minute4.
  • Upgrade your toilet – Consider switching to a dual flush toilet, with two buttons allowing different quantities of water to flow. The lower flush option typically uses up to 4-6 litres of water per flush. Alternatively, try installing a cistern displacement device in your toilet – these can save up to 5,000 litres of water a year4 and are often available free of charge from your water company.
  • Install low flow shower heads – these can save up to 60 litres of water per shower4.
  • Fit a tap aerator - this small, simple device mixes water with air, reducing the flow but maintaining the water pressure. They are cheap and easy to install and can save significant amounts of water. You can also buy taps with aerators already fitted.


  • Fill it up - make sure your dishwasher or washing machine is fully loaded so that you make the most of the water being used. Avoiding pre-rinsing dishes can also help to reduce water waste.
  • Use a washing up bowl – if washing up by hand, use a washing up bowl rather than continuously running the tap.
  • Upgrade to a water-saving tap – taps designed to be water efficient can use up to 40% less water than a normal tap.


  • Install a water butt – collecting and storing rainwater to use in your garden is a great way to conserve water while keeping your garden well-maintained.
  • Use a watering can – use a watering can wherever you can for more targeted watering. Watering the garden with a hosepipe can use 1,000 litres of water an hour – more than 12 baths!4 If you are using a hosepipe, attaching a trigger nozzle will halve the amount of water used and help direct the flow to the root of your plants.
  • Pick drought-resistant plants – consciously choosing plants that need less water, such as lavender or poppies, means you can more easily keep them healthy during dry summer months.
  • Reduce evaporation – using mulch and bark in your garden will help to reduce water evaporation by up to 75%4. Minimise evaporation by watering in the early morning or late evening, allowing the water to soak into the soil and reach plant roots.



  1. Regions defined by water resource company areas across England: Affinity Water, Anglian Water, Bristol Water, Cambridge Water, Essex & Suffolk Water, Northumbrian Water, Portsmouth Water, SES Water, Severn Trent Water, South East Water, South Staffordshire Water, South West Water, Southern Water, Thames Water, United Utilities, Veolia Water Projects, Wessex Water, Yorkshire Water. Seven regions set to face severe water stress by 2030: Anglian Water, Portsmouth Water, Affinity Water, Cambridge Water, South East Water, South Staffordshire Water, and Southern Water.
  2. Cebr analysis of water supply-demand balances based on the final water resources management plans of each water resource company and Environment Agency 2021 water-stressed areas classification.
  3. Nationally representative survey of 3,000 UK adults carried out by OnePoll between 19th to 21st April 2023.
  4. Waterwise water facts. Source available here.
  5. Kingfisher is proposing five polices to accelerate progress in reducing water usage in the home:
  • Encourage the roll out of water smart meters to as many properties as possible, to give consumers better understanding of their usage, as well as identify leaks.
  • Publicise the 2025 move to mandatory water labelling of relevant products to help consumers make informed decisions on the best products for their homes.
  • Standardise new building regulations to the rate of 110 litres per person per day, as set out in the National Framework for Water Resources. Define water use by fittings installed and not a calculation.
  • In retrofit support for rental and social housing, water efficiency should be included in the consumer facing Energy Performance Certificate as part of the 2025 revision. Heating water is second to space heating in energy use, making efficient water use important to retrofitting UK homes.
  • Incentivise the reuse of water in gardens and internal fittings via water firms, homebuilders, and publicity to tradespeople.

About Kingfisher

Kingfisher plc is an international home improvement company with over 1,900 stores, supported by a team of over 80,000 colleagues. We operate in eight countries across Europe under retail banners including Screwfix, B&Q, Castorama, Brico Dépôt, TradePoint and Koçtaş. We offer home improvement products and services to consumers and trade professionals who shop in our stores and via our e-commerce channels. At Kingfisher, our purpose is to help make better homes accessible for everyone.