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Saving Water – Tips to help save the planet

We are all becoming more aware of the environmental damage we are causing by pollution. The plight of our oceans and forests is daily news- so what can we do to help? The answer is simple – something!

Why is saving water important?

All the water on this planet is all the water that there is. We cannot produce any more. The more water we save the more there is for the environment. Less energy is used to treat water and less carbon is created to treat and transport water.

WRAS the Water Regulation Advisory Scheme, has, after extensive research, produced some startling statistics;

  • 1 in 4 households has no idea how much water they use.
  • Only 6% of households would ask for advise on water saving products from a plumber.
  • Only 50% of households have a water meter fitted.
  • The average household uses about 350 litres of water a day but believe that their consumption is half of that figure at around 157 litres.
  • The average time spent showering is around 7 ½ minutes.
  • 54 seconds is the average time that taps are left running when brushing teeth-wasting 12 litres of water.

Lazy ways to save the planet.

Kitchen

8 – 14% of our water usage is from washing dishes. If you hand wash your dishes use a bowl rather than under a running tap. This uses 60% less water alone.

Washing up by hand.

Let your dishes, pots and pans pile up until you have a full dishwasher load. A fully loaded dishwasher can be more efficient than handwashing. Use an eco-wash as this is often just as efficient as a long wash, but don’t use pre-rinse. Also a dishwasher can be more hygienic as there are no dishcloths and tea towels to wash.

Scrape any food waste into the food recycling bin before washing. Don’t put oil, fat and grease down the sink, to avoid blocking your pipes, drains and sewers. Use a plughole strainer to prevent food stuff going down the drain. Put coffee grounds in your food waste bin or compost bin. Invest in a waste disposal unit.

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Buy a water filter jug for your drinking water and save yourself a fortune by not buying bottled water. Think of all the plastic that won’t go into the recycling bin. Re-use your cooking water for soups and gravies or for your garden.

Filtered water jug.

Clothes washing

Washing machines account for about 15% of a household’s water usage. An average wash uses about 50 litres of water so ensure you have a full load and are not washing clothes unnecessarily. Hanging clothes up as soon as you take them off should reduce the wash load and try using a clothes freshener spray in between washes. With daily showering and the use of deodorants our clothes really do not need to be washed after just a few hours of wear – unless you still work down a coal mine of course!

Loading a washing machine

If you use a self-condensing tumble dryer or a de-humidifier then make sure you re-cycle the water collected in the sumps.

Showering

Reduce your showering time to 4 minutes, which should be long enough to get squeaky clean. A standard shower uses about 30 litres of water over 5 minutes, but a power shower uses a whopping 60 – 100 litres- that is more than a long relaxing soak in a bath! Water saving shower heads could save you even more water [and money]. While you are waiting for your shower to reach temperature pop a bucket underneath and collect the water for using in the garden.

You could always try showering/bathing with a friend!

Some water providers give away a shower timer- so read the booklet that comes with your water bill and see what freebies they have to offer.

Shower timer.

Teeth

Don’t have your tap running when you are brushing your teeth. 6 litres a minute of clean water is running down your plug hole and costing you money- that’s enough to make you feel down in the mouth. If you want to dunk your toothbrush (or razor) try filling a mug of water and using that instead.

Girl brushing her teeth.

Your dentist will tell you that your toothpaste works most efficiently if you don’t rinse and spit- now that is something to smile about!

Toilets

Most modern toilets must be dual flush – 4 & 6 litres, older toilets may use more. The little button is for liquids and the big button is for everything else.

Toilet flushing accounts for approximately 35% of a household’s water usage- that’s a lot of water. To help you save water [and money] not flushing overnight could save a huge amount of both; pop a drop of bleach down the pan before you go to bed and everything should stay nice and clean. If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down!

Dual flush toilet.

 

 

Toilet cistern displacement bag.

If your toilet is a single flush, then you can get a ‘save a flush’ bag from your water supplier saving 1 ½ litres per flush. Every drop helps and you will feel much flusher money wise.

Always check your toilet for leaks. A good tip is to add some food colouring to the cistern and see if the coloured water ends up in bowl. If it does contact a plumber to come and adjust the cistern. Some water providers will supply a little kit to check for leaks in your WC.

To avoid costly blockages only flush the 3 P’s – Paper, Poo and Pee. Everything else should be put in a bin especially ‘flushable wipes’ . These are not actually flushable at all and cause thousands of sewerage system blockages every year because they do not break down like toilet tissue. These blockages create pollution in our rivers, streams and on our beaches. If your drain gets blocked, then it is your responsibility to pay for the unblocking, so help to avoid this by being vigilant about what is flushed away.

To see the effects of ‘flushable wipes’ watch a short video on www.wessexwater.co.uk/binit

Garden

We are a nation of gardeners and hate to see our gardens wilting, but with hotter dryer summers it is hard to keep our gardens looking top notch. Sprinklers waste a huge amount of water and can be banned along with hose pipes during the dry seasons. To help your garden grow try planting drought loving plants like grasses, lavender and geraniums.

Country garden

Create extra shade so that the soil does not dry out as quickly. Check the weather forecast before watering- it is likely to rain tomorrow! Use a watering can instead of a hose pipe or sprinkler. Install water butts and harvest your rainwater (indoor plants prefer rainwater). If you must water, then do it in the morning or evening when there will be less evaporation.

Recycle your bath water and collect your shower water to feed your plants. If every household made just a few changes the difference would be immense, and we could all be a lot flusher!!

Water saving freebies

If you live in the Wessex Water area you can requested a number of free water saving products from them including:

  • Shower timers
  • Cistern bags saving 1.2 litres per flush
  • Leaky Loo Strip to check if your WC has a leak
  • Twin tap aerator saving up to 18 litres a day