The average person in Britain uses 150L of water each day, a high percentage of which is often wasted. With just a few easy steps, and a little help from technological innovations, it's possible to greatly reduce your water consumption, saving you money as well as taking the pressure off our supply; whilst having only a negligible effect on your lifestyle.
Tools & materials required
In the Kitchen
Kitchen appliances account for a large proportion of most houses water consumption. One of the most efficient ways to save water in this area is to ensure that your dishwasher and washing machine have a good efficiency rating; though they can be expensive to buy, modern A rated appliances will use significantly less water and electricity, reducing your bills in the long run as well as benefitting the wider world.
If replacing appliances is not an option for you, you can also check with the manufacturer if your current machine has any water saving settings you can activate, or just try to use your dishwasher and machine sparingly and only when switching them on when full.
Water can also be saved in your kitchen by:
- Filling the kettle up only with as much water as you need (this will also save on your electricity bill)
- Using a bowl of water to wash vegetables, rather than running the tap for a long period
- Planning ahead - defrost items overnight rather than using warm water
- When cooking only use just enough water to submerge your pasta or vegetables. This will also save on fuel and keep the flavour in your food better
In the Bathroom
There is a wide range of common sense actions you can take to save water in the bathroom, don' t stay in the shower for too long, turn off the tap whilst you brush your teeth and quickly fix any leaks that crop up in your faucet or elsewhere in the system. There are also a range of products available to help you go even further in reducing your water consumption:
- A low flow or aerating showerhead could save you more than 10 litres of water per minute, without compromising the quality of your shower
- Modern dual flush toilets can use as little as 7 litres of water per flush, while older, conventional modes often use more than 20. Considering that on average, each person flushes the toilet 5 times a day this can really make a big difference
- Similar to the shower, a low flow aerating faucet can save gallons of water a minute. The extra water is replaced with air pushed out of the faucet, so the flow is no weaker.
In The Garden
Even in smaller gardens, gardening can be a highly water intensive activity; by watering and using the right products you can reduce your water consumption greatly without jeopardising the health of your lawn or plants.
Save and Conserve
Many plants can survive quite well without regular watering, just keep an eye on your garden for any that look like they are flagging, and give any new plants a good soaking when you first put them in. The same is true for lawns, which only really need to be watering through their first season or in particularly dry conditions.
Picking the right time of day to water your plants can also make a difference; early morning or late evening is best, as it will require less water due to less evaporation and subsequent scorching. An automatic timer connected to your sprinkler or irrigation system can make this a lot easier.
Conserving water using a water butt connected to your guttering is a great idea which can give you a little extra to last through the hottest periods when hosepipe bans may be in place. Grey water; that is domestic waste water from your house, is often quite safe to use in the garden. Think about recycling the water you cook or do the dishes with to feed the garden. Avoid using grey water on edible plants and ensure that it is not overly contaminated with strong cleaning products or other chemicals.
Good Soil Saves Water
Good quality soil will retain moisture and support plant life, meaning you won't need as much water to keep your garden healthy; a whole range of soil conditioners, supplements and fertilisers area available which can feed your plants effectively and help you to save water.
Adding a layer of mulch or wood chips to the top of your flower beds can also be a great water saving idea, as this will slow evaporation and retain a large amount of water whilst still allowing it to pass through to the roots.