World Water Day : waste less tips

This week Sir James Bevan, chief executive of the Environment Agency has warned the UK that in 20-25 years England will not have enough water to meet demand and would reach the "jaws of death - the point at which, unless we take action to change things, we will not have enough water to supply our needs".

Pretty serious stuff that we need to listen to. Currently people in England use an average of 140 litres of water a day and Sir James is calling on people to cut their usage to 100 litres, a target set by Waterwise.

So what can you do? We’ve put together a list from various sources of things you can do around the home:

  • Turn the tap off when not needed e.g brushing teeth, shaving, washing up - a running tap wastes approximately 6 litres per minute

  • Only flush the toilet when necessary, we all know it - if its yellow let it mellow, if its brown flush it down - about 30% of total water used in the household is through toilet flushing, with each flush averagely using 9 litres of water!

  • Make sure you’ve got a water efficient toilet: dual flush systems help save 7 litres of water when compared to an old style flush system; get a Cistern Displacement Device to reduce the amount of water used by 1 litre per flush and up-to 5000 litres per year

  • Make sure you’ve got a water efficient shower head: both aerated and low flow will reduce the amount of water used. Be aware of power showers which can actually get through the same amount of water as a bath!

  • Start timing those showers, we’ve been told to keep them to 4 mins - pop an alarm clock or pick your favourite 4 minute song to listen to.

  • Like to run the shower before getting in? Catch the water in a bucket and use later around the house- use on plants, to flush the loo, clean the dishes etc Or give the wim hof cold shower method a go an jump straight in!

  • Avoid baths, they typically use around 80 litres, while a short shower can use as little as a third of that amount. If you’re desperate for one, run a shallower bath, just 1 inch can save on average 5 litres of water. Once finished don’t waste and drain the water - look to reuse around the house, e.g to water your houseplants or garden, flush the toilet

  • Buy solid versions of toiletries, water in toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and toothpaste typically makes up most of its content, by switching to solid versions you’re saving on water usage

  • Dishwashers can be a great water saver in the kitchen but make sure you’re running them on full loads, pick eco cycles and try to avoid pre-rinsing

  • If hand washing dishes, have dishes stacked and ready to go, don’t use running water, add a washing up bowl or plug the sink to catch excess water while washing

  • Clothes washing accounts for 15% of water we use in our homes, make sure you run a full load and use an eco cycle

  • If you like cool drinking water, putting a reusable bottle or jug of water in the fridge will ensure you can have chilled water all the time. Waiting for the tap to run cold can waste more than 10L of tap water a day

  • Ditch bottled water, a bottle that holds 1 litre has been found to require 5 litre of water in its manufacturing process

  • Try to fill the kettle with only what is needed, this will save water and energy

  • Steam your food instead of boiling, if boiling, use left over water for stock or let it cool and use to water plants

  • Eat more plant based meals, a vegetarian diet can shrink your food water footprint by 36%

  • Think before you allow any water to go down the drain - can you utilise it? Use it to water plants, flush the toilet, reuse it? e.g - reusing and reheating water in hot water bottles

  • Keep an eye out for any leaks and dripping taps around the home and look to get them fixed asap

  • Create a grey water recycling system where you can utilise water for various uses around the garden

  • Collect rainwater in a water butt for various uses around the house

  • Only buy what you really need and are going to use, 58 bathtubs of water are used per person, per day  to make the food we eat and the things we buy

Tips gathered from Waterwise, Friends of the Earth, Treehugger

This years theme for World Water Day is ‘leave no one behind’, with billions of people worldwide living without safe water – their households, schools, workplaces, farms and factories struggle to survive. Safe water is a basic human right, we’re are extremely privileged in the UK to have access to 140 litres of water a day, lets not waste it.

Sir James Bevan BBC article here

More about World Water Day here

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