How can you be water wise?
It’s easier than you think. Simple actions can have big impacts.
Healthy teeth, healthy rivers
Remember to turn off the tap while brushing your teeth – a running tap wastes over 6 litres per minute. If the entire adult population of England and Wales remembered to do this, we could save 180 mega litres a day – enough to supply nearly 500,000 homes.
Drop a Hippo in your cistern
About a quarter of all the clean, drinkable water we use in our homes is flushed down a toilet. If you’re in the market for a new loo, consider buying a water efficient toilet or one with a dual flush. If your loo is still as good as new, put a hippo or other displacement device into the cistern to save some water. Give your water company a ring; they can give you one of these devices for free.
Stop those drips
A dripping tap wastes at least 5,500 litres of water a year: that’s enough water wasted to fill a paddling pool every week for the whole summer. Mending your dripping tap washer could save you over £18 a year.
Consider installing a water efficient tap or a tap aerator – aerators in particular are cheap and simple quick fixes that you can do yourself.
Fill up those dishwashers
According to a University of Bonn study, you’re likely using more water (and energy) washing up by hand than using a modern efficient dishwasher. Even if you’re using a washing-up bowl. But make sure you fill the dishwasher or you’ll be wasting even more than if you were to wash up by hand. Become familiar with your dishwasher’s cycle options. Many settings provide the same cleaning power as a normal cycle, but with less water and energy. Check your user manual for the water consumption of other settings; if this is not provided, contact the manufacturer. Most modern dishwashers are so effective that you don’t even have to pre-rinse!
A bath typically uses around 80 litres, while a short shower can use as little as a third of that amount. But beware since many power-showers may actually use more than a bath. You can minimise your water use by reusing your bathwater to water your houseplants or garden.
Short, sharp, showers save water
By using a shower timer you can increase your awareness of the amount of time you spend in the shower. Try taking shorter showers to reduce the amount of water you use.
Before starting your washing machine, wait for a full load – a full load uses less water than two half loads; so, you’ll be able to save money on energy and water. Familiarise yourself with your washing machine’s cycle options. Some settings provide the same cleaning power as a normal cycle, but with less water and energy. Check your user manual for water consumption information about the various cycles on your model, or contact the manufacturer.
Fill a jug with tap water and leave it to cool in your fridge. This way you don’t have to run the tap for ages just to get a cold drink.
Fix leaky taps. They waste awful amounts of water! Make sure you check taps regularly and replace worn washers as soon as possible. Also, make sure to check kitchen pipes and the dishwasher hose for any leaks. Check out where your main stop valve is and make sure that you can turn it on and off. If ever a pipe bursts, you’ll know how to cut off the flow.
By washing your fruits and veg in a bowl rather than under a running tap, you could cut down on water waste effortlessly. And as an added bonus, you can use the leftover water to feed your houseplants.
Rubbish for rubbish bins
Try to avoid flushing away cotton balls, make-up tissues, and those pesky spiders-throwing them in the bin will cut down on the amount of water that is wasted by every flush.
Effective water efficiency initiatives
Our guide to effective retrofitting projects