People are being urged to “love water” with a new campaign to preserve the resource by more than 40 environmental groups, charities, water companies and regulators.
It comes after a warning by Environment Agency chief executive Sir James Bevan earlier this year that England could face a “jaws of death” situation where there will not be enough clean water within 25 years.
The climate emergency and population growth is putting increasing pressure on water resources and the environment, with the UK facing hotter, drier summers as temperatures rise and an increased risk of water shortages.
The Love Water campaign will encourage people to use water wisely, understand how they can reduce pollution in their local area and encourage people to get out and enjoy the environment by rivers, lakes, canals and the coast.
Events will include beach and river clean-ups and water-saving projects to try and curb the 150 litres used by the average person each day.
And with many people not aware of the damage activities such as flushing wet wipes or pouring oil, fats or grease down drains can do, the campaign aims to raise awareness of the small changes people can make to make a difference.
For example, people are advised to scrape or pour leftover fats from roasting trays and pans into a heat resistant container, to reuse, recycle or bin it once it is cool, and to wipe out grease left in pans with kitchen roll before washing.
Businesses are also being encouraged to get involved with promotions and pledging to do their bit to save water and protect the environment.
The long-term campaign is led by bodies including the Environment Agency, Industry body Water UK, Ofwat, the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.
Sir James said: “Most people agree that water is a precious resource but too often we take it for granted and don’t see how our actions have a direct effect on the local rivers, lakes and beaches we all care about.
“Our campaign intends to change that by urging people to use water wisely and to think before pouring cooking oil down the drain or flushing a wet wipe away.
“We know that everyone has a duty to preserve and protect water and the campaign will also work with industry, water companies and other regulators in the longer-term to cut down on wastage.”
Martin Spray, chief executive of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, said: “More than half of species in British freshwaters are in decline, with 13% threatened with extinction including wading birds like curlew and plants like triangular club rush.
“We all need to make the mental connection that our water comes from and returns to the natural world – via our taps and drains – so it’s up to us to care for that water for the sake of all life, including ourselves.”
And the NFU’s vice president Stuart Roberts said: “Water is fundamental to food production and is absolutely essential to nearly every food item British farmers produce.
“Water availability is often only talked about during times of flood or drought but we need to raise the awareness of its essential role 365 days a year.”