It has been dubbed the wettest drought in history. People are being forced to put sandbags outside their homes. At the same time, the public is being urged to conserve water because of severe shortages of supply.

Somehow it seems that the water companies have completely lost their PR marbles, as they persist in fobbing us off with feeble excuses in a bid to divert attention away from the real root of the problem – chronic underinvestment in our supply infrastructure.

In a country that is blessed with an abundance of rain, you’d surely realise that media messages about conserving a precious resource simply aren’t going to wash with a public that is fed up with drought warnings on an almost annual basis.

Yet our water companies simply haven’t cottoned onto the fact their customers just roll their eyes every time they hear the same old public relations patter, with excuses such as too little rain too late and rain at the wrong time of the year.

Instead of warming to their campaigns to cut down on our water consumption, many of us simply feel insulted, especially given that virtually all of our reservoirs are now either full or close to capacity.

Nothing could exemplify this more than the Thames Water PR offensive telling puzzled drivers not to wash their cars, in which it is handing out stickers bearing the slogan ‘Proud to be Dirty’. 

In fairness to the water companies, there may well be an underlying truth to what they are saying and that, notwithstanding their shortcomings in terms of underinvestment, water really is in short supply despite the sheer volume of the stuff falling from the sky.

But from a PR perspective this simply isn’t the point and the messages that they are sending out are clearly not what the public wants to hear.

Instead, our water companies would do far better to put it plain and simple and apologise for the fact they have failed to put sufficient measures in place to protect our supplies throughout natural fluctuations in our weather cycle.

And rather than finding something else to blame, they would help their cause no end by putting out a positive message about what they are actually doing themselves to improve the situation.