Sparrow and Finch Gardening The UK’s first water lockdown changed habits and led to shortages

The UK’s first water lockdown changed habits and led to shortages

Water companies were forced to struggle to balance the supply and demand of water with unusual patterns in domestic market. Offices, restaurants, and other public spaces had been closed, and all but essential employees were told to stay home.

The period was particularly dry and sunny. The daily water peak was 35 % higher at the end of the month than it had been before the lockdown. It also occurred in the evening as opposed to the 8 am. Around 2,000 Midlands homes experienced water shortages, and several water companies were forced to ask their clients to decrease how much water they use.

We tracked the water usage in England and Wales by talking to people and analyzing data from news articles, scientific studies, and interviews. Some of these changes are temporary. However, those in the water industry worry that increased water consumption and demand patterns may become a part of everyday life as more people choose to work at home.

Work from Home

During the lockdown, most people did their drinking, cooking, and dishwashing at home. The people who worked from home were able to adopt more flexible routines at home, as the commute no longer dictated when they had to get up and shower. Water use did not spike in the mornings on weekdays, as usual. The morning peak moved from 9 am to 10.30 am. Water use increased on average during the lockdown.

Hourly average consumption before and after lockdown


The evening is when water use increases the most, as homeworkers have more time to spend on cooking and other activities. This meant that people were using more water to wash fresh produce, boil rice and pasta, and clean dishes.

The thirsty lifestyle changes that occurred during the lockdown eventually became less pronounced as people who stayed at home did less laundry, less washing, and less showering. They also used less energy and water. Working from home entailed fewer social obligations than working in an office.

Gardening and Leisure

Cleaning routines shaped leisure and relaxation during otherwise boring days. Instead of going to the cinema, bars, and restaurants, people took a relaxing shower or bath. The “one trip outside” Policy encouraged people to exercise more and take extra batteries throughout the day.

Domestic gardens also became important places for socializing and recreation. Garden furniture and paddling pool sales soared in the spring and early summer 2020. Plant seeds also grew.

Office for National Statistics reports that gardening time has doubled between March and April 2020, compared to 2015. The Office for National Statistics reported that the amount of time spent gardening in March and April 2020 was doubled compared to 2015.

Adapting to change

After the students returned to school, water usage patterns resembled those of pre-lockdown.

The new habits people developed during the lockdown could last for months or even years. As part of our research, we interviewed many people who expected to continue to work from home once government restrictions were lifted. Before the outbreak, 68% British employees had never worked from home. data suggests that as the country emerges from its third lockdown, more than 40% of employees want to work from home a few times a week.

Environment Agency warned before the pandemic that climate change and population increase could lead to a shortage of water in the UK by 2050. The water companies have been planning and implementing efficiency measures, but they were caught off guard by the sudden shifts in how and where much water was used during spring 2020.

The water helped many people maintain a sense of normality during the lockdown by allowing them to discover their gardens, and by providing an escape from boredom. Others would have faced larger bills due to increased water usage at home.

The lockdowns show how social trends affect water demand. Flexible work arrangements allowed people to shift their most water-intensive activities outside of peak hours. However, the new routines led many people to use more water every day. If a new gardener generation emerges as a result of the pandemic there is an opportunity to promote water-wise gardening. Water butts that collect rainwater can help reduce water consumption in the future.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts