Water is an essential part of life. It sustains our bodies and our planet, forming 60% of the human body, and 70% of the earth’s surface. This apparent plenty makes it easy to take water for granted, particularly in rainy Britain.
However, scientists predict that, by 2050, Britain will experience regular water shortages, with rivers and reservoirs decreasing due to climate change. Saving water helps combat the climate crisis and helps make sure there’s enough in the reservoirs for everyone. The water industry creates 1% of Britains carbon emissions, so cutting down on your usage helps the environment, the country, and your bills in one fell swoop.
The average Brit uses around 150 litres of water every day. Although this is a considerable amount down the drain, it offers plenty of opportunities for water saving tips, from the tap to the shopping trolley.
1. Choose A Shower Over A Bath
The average bath uses twice as much water as a standard shower, making showering the obvious water-saving choice. Of course, an hour-long shower won’t save you any water, but generally, a quick shower is the best way to start your day saving water.
2. Time Your Shower To Ensure You’re Saving Water
Although showers can save more than baths, the best way to ensure your water savings is with a timer in the bathroom. Protecting the planet can be fun, especially if you turn a water-efficient shower into a challenge. Put a sand-timer next to the shower and race the clock to start the day. That way, you save time, as well as water.
3. Buy A Water-Saving Shower Head
Showers use anywhere from 10 to 40 litres of water a minute. Make sure your shower is on the water-saving end of the spectrum with an efficient showerhead. Consider upgrading to an aerated showerhead, which saves water while maintaining that satisfying high-pressure effect. Aerated showerheads mix pressurised air with the shower water, keeping you clean and eco-friendly.
4. Turn The Tap Off When You Brush Your Teeth
Keeping the tap running while you’re brushing your teeth is an expensive way to soundtrack your morning routine. Running taps send up to 10 litres of water spiralling down the plughole every minute. A toothbrush duration could double that, so be sure to use the taps only when needed.
5. Put A Flush-Saver In Your Toilet’s Cistern
Each UK household creates 5,000 flushes a year, an absolute tidal wave of toilets considering each one involves at least 6 litres of water. To save water, put a Cistern Displacement Device (CDD) in your cistern. As the name suggests, these devices displace unnecessary water in the cistern, saving litres of water with each flush. Many water providers will send you a CDD for free upon request. If not, you can fashion one quite simply from a weighed-down plastic bottle.
6. Test Your Toilet For Leaks
Leaking toilets can waste hundreds of litres a year, particularly if the leak goes unnoticed. Obviously, you’d notice water jetting from your toilet, or flooding the bathroom. However, cisterns which leak clean water down into the bowl often go unnoticed and release a slow trickle of wasted water over time. To catch a leaky cistern in the act, simply add some food colouring into the reservoir. If the food colouring disappears or reappears in the bowl, your cistern may be leaking wasted water.
7. Ensure Your Boiler Maintains Efficiency
This water saving tip can apply to any plumbed-in household appliance, but make sure your boiler is serviced annually and is in good working order.
8. Keep Your Pipes In Good Shape
Burst pipes exemplify destructive and upsetting water wastage. To protect your home and your environment, make sure your pipes are well-cladded, and you know where your home’s stop-tap is. That way, your pipes are less likely to freeze and burst, and if they do, you can shut the leak-off quickly.
9. Fix Dripping Taps
Dripping taps, as well as annoying everyone nearby, create surprising amounts of wasted water. Those drips can accumulate to 15 litres a day, and 5,500 litres a year. A cheap washer and the few minutes required to fix the tap thereby pay dividends and keep your home water-efficient.
10. Use The Dishwasher
Dishwashers use around 10 litres of water per cycle, but hand-washing the same quantity of crockery could multiply water usage ten-fold. One of our favourite water saving tips in the kitchen is to simply load the dishwasher, sit back, and relax.
11. Ensure The Dishwasher Is Full Before Sse
Of course, the dishwasher uses the same amount of water, whether full to the brim or washing a single teaspoon. Maximise efficiency by filling the machine every time, rather than half-loads.
12. Keep The Dishwasher Clean
So often, bowls come out of the dishwasher needing an extra rinse before putting away. With each rinse, the dishwasher’s advantage over hand-washing ebbs away. Dishwashers need their filters cleaned, and any seeds and pips removed from their washer arms. Wipe crockery down before putting it in the dishwasher to make sure your machines run efficiently, and your crockery comes out good as new.
13. If You Do Hand-Wash, Don’t Rinse
Sometimes things have to be hand-washed if you don’t have a dishwasher or need to clean delicate kitchenware. In that case, try to limit rinsing to save water. Consider using a bowl of clean rinse-water, to remove soap without a constant tap running.
14. Make The Sink Greener
Many homeowners introduce plants to their living space, for kitchen gardens or for a natural look. If placed near the sink, or even the shower, these plants thrive. Placing greenery where water is likely to be spilt uses nature to absorb wasted water, ensuring every drop goes to good use.
15. Steam Your Food To Save Water
Boiling your veg creates a whole panful of wasted water, along with soggy, nutrient-drained food. Consider steaming to save water by placing your veg in a colander over your boiling carbs. The steaming process also retains many of the vegetables’ natural vitamins and minerals.
16. Wash Your Food, Don’t Rinse It
Again, running taps are the enemy of water-efficiency. Instead of rinsing your vegetables, pour a bowl of water and wash them efficiently.
17. Store Water Jugs In The Fridge, Rather Than Pouring Cups Of Water To Drink
Each cup of water wastes drops through spillage, particularly if you run the tap to check the temperature first. By contrast, jugs of water in the fridge provide drip-free cool water, and the chance to flavour your drink with cucumber or lemon. As an added bonus, stored water also helps the fridge run more energy-efficiently.
18. Reuse Household Water
This water saving tip varies in extremity between the squeamish and the hardcore water-saving tastes. Essentially, you can save water by repurposing water you’ve already used. It’s a well-known tip that adding pasta water to the sauce adds flavour and texture; consider adding vegetable-boiling water to soups and stocks as well. Shower and washing-up water can also be repurposed. If the water isn’t too greasy or full of chemicals, the garden plants would be happy to use it.
19. Buy A Water Butt
To save water in the garden, abandon the hose and turn to the water butt. A simple installation at the bottom of your drainpipe, water butts can store 100s of litres of rainwater to use on the garden.
20. Financial Activism
Veganism has recently shown that the market takes notice of social and environmental issues when the public starts spending differently. Financial activism can save water by acknowledging water embodied within products, in their harvesting, manufacture, and transport. Boycotting them lets producers know that you want to save water. Dairy and meat use a lot of water in their processing, and with all the new vegan alternatives coming out, it’s easier to save water through your diet.
Other non-consumable products like clothes also contain embodied water to grow the plants involved, so it’s worth investigating their water-efficiency before you purchase. If certain companies or products show an extreme lack of concern over water scarcity, then don’t invest in them until they change their minds.
21. Political Activism
Individual household changes make a huge difference to water usage on a collective level, but so do industries. Along with financial trends, political legislation has a direct impact on water usage in the commercial sector. Advocating for water-saving behaviour, with information and with your vote, can change how the whole world uses water. Applying water saving tips in the home allows you to lead by example, providing a foundation from which to hold the world to account.