Despite being an island surrounded by water it doesn’t take long for some areas in the UK to run dry come summer. During 2006, several water companies issued hosepipe and sprinkler bans, and almost declared further restrictions on the remaining supply.
Being efficient all year round with water will help ensure our reservoirs remain at a healthy level. It also pays to reduce the amount you use, as more and more of us are switching or move to water metered supplies. Here are some water saving tips to help you on your way to reducing, preserving and using water wisely.
Fix Leaky Taps
Not only are they irritating to hear day in, day out, they also waste an excessive amount of water. A tap losing one drop a second wastes 15 litres of water a day. Usually tightening the tap will solve the problem, otherwise enlist the help of someone who knows what they’re doing.
Take a Shower instead of a Bath
A long soak in the bath is a great relaxant, but did you know that having just one can use up to 100 litres of water? An average shower cuts your water consumption by a third and leaves you just as clean, so have a bath as a treat instead of part of your daily routine. However, beware – some modern power showers used are also water guzzlers, so turn down from the maximum setting to use in moderation.
Save Water in the Kitchen
There are lots of things you can do in the kitchen to help save water. Instead of running the tap till it gets cold to drink, keep a handy jug of chilled water to drink. When boiling the kettle to cook or make a cup of tea, only boil as much as you need. And rather than wash potatoes and other vegetables under the tap, wash all of them in a single bowl of water. Even making small changes like these will help reduce daily water consumption.
Water Efficient Appliances
You can make high water consumption products more efficient in the way they run by taking advantage of some of the free or cheap products that the main water companies offer. For example, a hippo or save-a-flush is an unnoticeable addition to your toilet but can save up to 2,000 gallons of water a year.
In the long term, you may wish to consider a dual flush toilet that flushes with less water. And when you next come to replace washing machines or dishwashers, try and purchase an energy efficient model as these are also designed to use less water.
Install a Water Butt
Gathering rain water outside using a water butt is an efficient and cheap way to water flowers and plants. It can keep your garden in top condition without using a sprinkler or hosepipe. Water butts, which are lightweight and barrel sized, are usually available at a discounted price from your council.
Turn Off the Tap
It’s an old cliché, but turning the tap off when brushing your teeth saves more water than you may realise – over six litres every 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. Also try and make a conscious attempt to turn off the tap when shaving and washing your face in the basin.
Only Wash a Full Load
Whether it’s a load of washing in the washing machine or dishes in the dishwasher, only switch on if you’ve got a full load to wash. That way, you’ll be making optimum use of the water that’s used in a cycle, and avoid using these appliances needlessly. It’s also possible on most modern machines to select a half load option which will reduce the amount of water used accordingly.
Sprinklers and Hosepipes
Hosepipes use around 1,000 litres of water an hour; sprinklers even more. Leave them in the shed in favour of more water efficient alternatives. Use leftover water and rainwater from your water butt for the garden. Washing the car the old fashioned way – with bucket and sponge – is equally as effective but miles more efficient.
Ensure your water pipes and external taps are lagged in time for the cold winter months. If pipes are more heat efficient, it will help avoid them freezing, leaking or even bursting, which wastes high quantities of water. Insulating pipes will also save you on your winter heating bills.
Flush with Care
Currently the average person in the UK flushes the toilet 35 times a week, but not always for the right reasons. Try and avoid flushing away tissues, cotton balls, make-up facial wipes. Put them in the bin to avoid a needless flush.