If more houses had water butts, it could help with drought, flooding and water pollution

  • 05.11.2022
  • The Conversation

Earlier this year, southern England experienced its driest July on record. The drought affected many parts of the UK and grew so acute that Thames Water’s hosepipe ban will remain in force into 2023.

But rainfall in August was heavy. The volume of rain caused outdated drainage and sewerage systems to overflow, degrading the quality of many of the UK’s rivers.

Extreme weather patterns such as these are set to dominate our future. The Environment Agency predicts that demand for water in southern England may outstrip supply in the next 20 years. Yet, at the same time, as many as 5.2 millionUK properties are threatened by flooding.

Our research suggests that collecting rainwater in water butts may offer a solution to these problems. This cheap, small-scale intervention could help protect households against water risks while engaging those involved with water issues. Unfortunately, the government tends to ignore this scale of intervention.