One of the joys of beekeeping is that it varies so much around the world, as you well know.
In the UK, there is enough rain that you don't have to worry about giving water to your bees. In southern California, we have a long term drought. While we can provide pools and tubs of water for our bees, it seems that they are more motivated to take it if it has sugar in it - so I like to use the 1:1 formula for Spring feeding - they get the water needed to build new comb, along with the feed. Of course, I would prefer not to feed at all, but if a colony is new, or weak, I would rather feed than lose it.