We’ve always been told to watch our water usage, but have you ever thought about exactly why that is? Many of us believe that because the UK is relatively wet, water supply from rainfall is enough to keep us going but this is actually not the case. Modern lifestyles have increased the demand for water (such as using dishwashers and washing machines, an increase in personal hygiene and the demand for out-of-season crops grown in greenhouses which require watering) which is putting huge strain on the water supply – in fact, household water consumption has risen by 70% since 1985.
Combined with rising temperatures and more frequent prolonged dry spells, and with only around 1% of the world’s water easily accessible, it truly is becoming a scarce and limited resource. And there’s the environmental impact too: water treatment requires large amounts of energy, with water companies among the highest users of electricity in the UK.
So, it goes without saying that water consumption needs to be cut. And because 50% of the UK’s water is used in the home, you can make changes right now. They key is for all of us to make small adjustments to our daily habits to collectively make a big impact, so read on for 15 easy ways to reduce your water consumption.
1. Partial to a regular bath? Swap it for a shower. Treat yourself to an aromatherapy shower oil or a shower steamer (similar to a bath bomb) to create a luxurious, uplifting experience…
2. …but don’t spend too long in there! Every minute you spend in a power shower uses up 17 litres of water.
3. Don’t use your toilet as a bin – think twice before flushing down a tissue as you’ll be wasting at least 6 litres of water.
4. Wait until you have a full load before turning on your washing machine – it’ll use up less water and energy than 2 half-loads.
5. Did you know a full dishwasher uses up less water than doing the dishes by hand? What better reason to put your feet up! But make sure it is a full load and try a cooler setting if you can.
6. Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth – a running tap uses between 6-9 litres of water per minute.
7. When buying plants for your garden, look for varieties that are resistant to drought and so need less watering.
8. Reduce food waste (check out our tips here) – it takes huge amounts of water to produce our crops so aim to buy less if you aren’t going to use it all. It’ll also save you over £500 a year, on average.
9. Avoid watering your garden during the hottest part of the day to prevent water being quickly evaporated in the heat and sunlight – try early mornings instead.
10. Doing up your bathroom? Opt for a dual-flush toilet which offers a half-flush option – it will use around 6 litres of water rather than the full 13. The average UK household flushes the toilet 5,000 times a year so that’s a big saving!
11. If you’re boiling vegetables, don’t throw away the water. Either combine it with the scraps and herbs to make a stock, or let it cool and use it to water your plants.
12. Wash your vegetables in a bowl or sink filled with water, rather than letting the tap run.
13. Don’t waste the water that runs out of the tap while you wait for the hot water to come through. Gather it in bowls or bottles and reserve it for cleaning or watering plants.
14. Reuse the water that is collected in your tumble drier reservoir – then use it to mop your floors.
15. Check your pipes regularly for leaks. A leak will waste water 24/7 and is usually easily and cheaply fixed.