A cabinet minister has called for people to install water-saving devices in their toilets amid ongoing drought fears.
While George Eustice said more water companies should ban hosepipes as a mitigation against prolonged dry weather this month, the environment secretary also called for households to take individual action.
"Saving water is about reducing unnecessary consumption, not restricting essential use,” he wrote in a Sunday Telegraph article.
“There are lots of actions you can take to save water at home and in the garden. Installing a water-saving device in your toilet cistern or checking your household appliances for leaks can save huge amounts of water."
Watch: Hosepipe ban begins in parts of England amid drought warning
According to Waterwise, a non-profit focused on reducing water consumption in the UK, toilet flushes use up to six litres of water, and account for 30% of a household's water use.
Waterwise says cistern displacement devices, which save one litre per flush, are available free of charge from most water companies.
However, Eustice added mitigations "should never solely be about individual consumer action" and pressured water companies to implement hosepipe bans.
With his remarks being the first public intervention by a minister, it signals possible upcoming restrictions on watering gardens, washing cars or filling pools with hosepipes for millions more people.
A heatwave is expected next week and the Met Office has warned “for the next seven to 10 days it looks like it will be dry for much of the country”, with little rain or wind.
Southern Water has already imposed a hosepipe ban for customers in Hampshire and on the Isle of Wight, while the measure will follow later this week for South East Water customers in Kent and Sussex.
Welsh Water has also announced a ban for Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire later this month.
Eustice said in his article: “I strongly urge others [water companies] to do the same.”
This week, Southern Water encouraged people to grass on their neighbours if they spot them repeatedly breaching hosepipe bans.
Any fine, which can go up to £1,000, would have to be imposed via the courts, although Southern said it prefers “education over enforcement”.
The company said people should “gently remind” neighbours of the restrictions in place if they see anyone breaking the rules.
A spokesman said: “If you see anyone repeatedly breaching the restrictions, please let us know via our customer service team."