Buckinghamshire has been confirmed as one of the areas of the UK with the hardest water, a new survey has shown.

A new chart published by Homecure Plumbers has given a breakdown of where the softest and hardest tap water is to be found in England and Wales, although data is not available for some counties.

What emerges is a clear picture showing that the further south and east people live, the harder their water is likely to be.

People in the north, Wales and the south-west may enjoy soft water, but it’s a different story in the Midlands, East of England and south east, with the nine worst counties for hardness being Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Essex.

With Buckinghamshire being such a problem area, there is clearly a need for water softeners in Chalfont St Giles and other towns across the county.

This is because Buckinghamshire residents are among those most likely to face issues such as the build-up of scum in kettles, pipes and shower heads, as well as making boiler breakdowns more likely.

It is also unpleasant to bath and shower in, with Bryan Campbell from Water Filter Guru commenting: “Because hard water is unable to lather properly with soap, it instead forms a layer of soap scum that can build up on your showerheads, faucets and fixtures.”

This can get on people’s skin and in their hair, he added. Other problems can also include fading and even altering the colour of hair dye.

The main cause of hard water is alkaline lime deposits containing large amounts of calcium. Southern and eastern counties tend to be affected by this because most of the water is extracted from underground chalk aquifers, whereas upland areas further north rely on a network of reservoirs that gather water from upland streams.