The average person in the UK uses 140 litres of water every day. Combine this with the amount of water lost through leaky pipes, climate change and our ever-growing population it is estimated that by the year 2050 most of England will experience significant water shortages.
It is and continues to be a problem. However, while there’s not much we can do about leaks from underground water pipes (these account for 3 billion litres of wasted water) there are some things we can do to help conserve our water supplies.
Here are just a few of the simple changes you can make to help out the planet by lowering water consumption in your household:
Turn Off The Tap
This is such a simple habit to get into, but if everyone did it would save so much water. Turning off the tap when you brush your teeth can save up to 6 litres of water per minute. Think about it, you’ve wet your toothbrush and now what… do you actually need the water to be running? The short answer is no. The only time you need to turn the tap on again is if the toothbrush gets a bit dry or when you are washing down the sink after you have spat out the toothpaste. Likewise when you wash you hands, the tap does not need to be running for the entire time you are cleaning them. All it needs is a bit of water to wet your hands and to activate the soap, then while you are scrubbing your hands the tap could be turned off until you are ready to rinse the soap off. They are small changes, but small changes done by lots of people amount to big savings.
Install A Water Butt
Fitting a water butt in your garden, either to a drainpipe coming off of the house or from a shed or garage, is a great way to harvest rainwater that can then be used to water the plants or lawn in your garden. A water butt can collect around about 5,000 litres of water a year and that is water that you haven’t had to take from the tap. They are inexpensive, really easy to install and don’t look out of place in the garden. You should also think about how much water you use in your garden, for example do you use a sprinkler to water your lawn, do you use a hosepipe to water the plants? Consider replacing the hosepipe with a watering can and using the water collected in your water butt to water your plants instead. And if you have a lot of lawn think about whether you actually need that much lawn space or in fact whether it is worth replacing some of it with artificial lawn that won’t need watering at all.
Go To The Car Wash
You might think a car wash uses a lot of water, but actually it is more water efficient to take your car to a car wash to be cleaned than it is you cleaning it yourself at home with the hose. You see most car washes recycle the water they use, rather than continually draining it from the main water supply. Plus let’s face it, it saves you time, it saves you the bother, and they always end up doing a better job of cleaning it than you can anyway!
Don’t worry I’m not about to tell you to drink less water. We all know how important it is to good health to stay well hydrated and with the Government Department of Health recommending we drink at least 1 litre of water each day (about six glasses) if anything we could all do with drinking a bit more than we currently do. We can however help to save water by making a few simple changes to our bad habits. Do you leave the tap running when you’re waiting for it to get cold before filling your glass? Most of us do, which means the water not being drunk is going straight into the drain unused. Instead fill a jug or bottle with water and store it in the fridge so that whenever you want a cold drink you can pour it straight from there.
Re-Use Your Cooking Water
When we cook vegetables or pasta most of us drain the water over the sink and that cooking water is gone. But what a waste! Water that has been used to cook vegetables can be drained into a saucepan and then kept for use in smoothies or as the base of a soup. You have essentially created a vegetable stock and it will contain lots of healthy vitamins and minerals that have leaked out of the vegetables during the cooking process. And pasta water can be collected and then when cooled can be used to water plants.
These are just a few of the ways we can all help save water in our homes. Simple, easy to put in place and yet enough to make a significant impact upon the future of our planet.
Install Water Efficient Goods
OK so I’m not telling you to bin all your white goods and rush out and replace them with their more energy efficient counterparts. But when you need to replace one it is worth investing some time into researching the products that are more water efficient and that will also save you money in the long run.
These days you can find water efficient washing machines, dishwashers, toilets, taps, showerheads and you can even browse central heating pumps for sale at Pump Sales Direct. These products are designed to cut back on the amount of water needed or to re-use water in such a way that less is needed to be taken from the main supply. For example, a dual flush toilet uses 6 litres of water per full flush and just 4 litres with an economy flush, which is less than half the amount that a traditional toilet uses. You must also remember to only use the dishwasher and washing machine when you have a full load. If you’re unsure of how much water your household currently using it is worth having a water meter installed so that you can check the figures. This will allow you to work out where you might be excessively using water and give you an idea as to the areas in which you need to cut back.
Check For Leaks
If you do have a water meter installed you might be surprised to discover that you are using far more water than you imagined. But it might not be being wasted in the ways you imagine. In fact if the figure is significantly higher than the average household consumption, it is highly likely you have a leak and this is worth getting a professional plumber in to take a look. Otherwise, aside from the wasted water, you are paying for water that you are not even using!
Swap Baths For Showers
I know how lovely it is to sink down into a deep, warm bubble bath after a hard day at work, but if you’re dong that every single day, that’s a lot of water going down the plughole…. 140 litres to be exact. Now if you compare that to roughly how much water is used in an 8 minute shower (120 litres) the saving doesn’t appear to be that significant. However add that up over the space of a year, reduce the amount of time you spend in the shower from 8 minutes to 5 minutes and all of a sudden you’ve saved a whopping 23,725 litres of water a year. And that’s just one person changing their cleaning habits! If you really want to become a water saving hero you could also consider using a shower bucket. This basically involves placing a bucket underneath the shower while you wait for it to heat up, the idea being that it collects what would otherwise be wasted water and can be used to water plants or even to flush the toilet.