With a few simple changes, it’s easy to reduce the amount of water that you use.
Remember to turn off the tap while brushing your teeth – a running tap wastes over 6 litres per minute.
About a quarter of all our clean, drinkable water at home is flushed down the toilet. Drop a hippo into your cistern to reduce this amount.
A dripping tap wastes at least 5,500 litres of water a year – enough to fill a paddling pool every week for the whole summer.
Washing up by hand uses more water and energy than a modern dishwasher – as long as you fill it up before you press ‘start’. A full load of washing uses less water and less energy than two half loads.
Stand for it
A bath uses around 80 litres, while a short shower takes a third of that amount. But if you do bath, don’t forget that you can re-use bathwater for your houseplants or garden.
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 to get a cold drink.
Wash fruit and veg in a bowl, not under a running tap, to cut waste effortlessly. You can use the leftover water for your houseplants or patio pots.
Remember that cotton balls, make-up tissues, even dead spiders, all go in the bin, not down the toilet.
… and out
Garden hoses and sprinklers use as much as 1,000 litres of water per hour – more than a family of four consumes in a whole day. Switch to a watering can or fit a trigger gun to control the flow. Use a bucket and sponge to wash the car.
Summer is the easiest time to plan a water butt for your garden. Your roof collects about 85,000 litres of rain each year (around 450 butts full). That’s water you can use for your plants and to wash the car, and it’s free!
Pebbles, gravel, cocoa shell, chipped bark and grass clippings can be applied as a 5cm to 8cm mulch layer to stop water-loving weeds, keep the soil cool, decrease evaporation and reduce soil compaction. Avoid mulching too close to plant stems as this can lead to rotting in winter.
Giving your plants’ roots a good soaking once or twice a week in dry weather is much better than lightly watering them every day because most of that water just evaporates away. But new plantlings do need regular watering until they are established.
Cutting water waste is also immensely satisfying! The information above is based on the advice of Waterwise, the leading authority on water efficiency in the UK. Waterwise is an independent, not for profit organisation that receives funding from the UK water industry and from sponsorship and consultancy work.