Uncertainty over water supplies is a rare problem in Britain. It can occur during times of drought, but otherwise is normally just a temporary issue caused by incidents like burst water mains.
Indeed, for people living in the south east the biggest concern is normally the hardness of water, which is why buying water softeners in Berkshire is a smart move.
However, there is now much uncertainty about the future as Thames Water faces the threat of going bust. The firm has issued a statement in the wake of the resignation of its chief executive Sarah Bentley, in which it insists it “continues to operate as normal” and has a recovery plan in place.
In addition, the boss of water regulator Ofwat told the BBC that if the firm does go under, customers will not have to pay more for their water if the firm is taken over by another company or, as a last resort, undergoes emergency nationalisation by the government to ensure water supplies and maintenance services are continued.
However, beyond concerns about the future of the company is widespread dissatisfaction with its services, with problems such as regular leaks and sewage pollution incidents causing major concern in recent years.
All this may suggest a revamped Thames Water, or a new firm taking over and operating more effectively, could do much to improve services in counties like Berkshire.
However, one thing that will not change is the hardness of the water unless new reservoirs are built away from chalk streams, since such streams are the primary source of hard water with their high calcium content.
For that reason, it remains the case that the best thing you can do is get a water softener to reduce the damage to your kettle, avoid the feeling of dry skin and frizzy hair after showering, prevent stains and fibre damage to clothes when you wash them and enjoy better tasting water.
These are all benefits you can be sure of even when so much else is so uncertain.