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Drought and water-saving tips

A dripping water tap©InfoWhen there’s not enough rainfall for a long period, this can cause a drought – which puts a stress on water supplies and the environment. Water levels drop in rivers, reservoirs and in the ground.

Droughts don’t happen that often, so it’s important that we all know what to do to protect water supplies and the environment when they do.

Water saving tips

One thing we can be sure of is that droughts will happen some time, so it’s best to be prepared. Before a drought arrives, it’s useful to get into good habits, such as using a bowl of water to peel and wash fruit and vegetables instead of a running tap, and reusing grey water to water the garden. Putting a 'Hippo' water-saving device or brick in your cistern also helps. Placing water butts under downpipes and considering many other ways of saving rainwater can drastically reduce consumption in the garden and help ensure you can keep watering even during a hosepipe ban.

A good way to keep a check on your water consumption and save money is to have a water meter – contact your water company about having one fitted.

During a drought

During a drought, saving water is even more important. The Environment Agency has lots of advice about saving water when the need arises. Simply turning the tap off when you brush your teeth can save up to five litres a minute! Don’t use any clean water for non-essential purposes like cleaning windows, for example. Hosepipe and sprinkler bans are only used when there’s a real need. Always follow the water company’s advice.

In extreme circumstances, large cracks in the ground can appear – usually where houses are built on clay – so get in touch with your household insurance company who will be able to offer advice about what to do.   


As the environment recovers following a drought, it is still important to continue to use water sensibly. Water conservation is good for the environment and for society at all times.