Water Info & Tips


Latest from DEFRA:

We can all make a difference

Water is one of life’s essentials, yet in the UK every day millions of litres of water disappear down the drain unnecessarily.

There is less water available per person in some parts of the country than in the Sudan(1) and new pressures caused by climate change and population growth are likely to stretch water resources even further.

But cutting the amount of water we lose this way is easy to do, and it doesn’t mean settling for lower standards of living.

Did you know?

• Running the tap can use six litres of water a minute. If the entire adult population of England and Wales turned off the tap while brushing their teeth, we could save 12.8 million buckets(2) a day. That’s enough to fill 72 Olympic sized swimming pools.(3)

• Almost one third of all the drinkable water we use in our homes literally goes down the pan – around 50 litres every day for each one of us or enough per person to fill 1,300 buckets a year.

• A dripping tap is more than just annoying – it can waste up to 15 litres of water a day, or almost 5,500 litres a year. That’s the equivalent of 8 buckets of water in a week, and 416 in a year.

• Hosepipes are one of the greatest water guzzlers using up to a mighty 18 litres a
minute. That’s 78 buckets of water in an hour! Washing your car with a hosepipe can
take more water than the average family uses in a whole day. If every car(4) in the UK was washed for 30 minutes using a hosepipe(5), it would use enough water to fill 13 Wembley Stadiums(6) or a colossal 1 billion buckets.

(1) Waterwise 2008
(2) Based on a bucket volume of 14 litres
(3) Volume of an Olympic size swimming pool volume 2500m3 (50m x 25m x 2m)
(4) Based on assumption of 28 million cars in the UK (based on Dft and DRDNI transport statistics, 2006)
(5) Based on a hosepipe flow rate of 18 litres per minute
(6) Wembley Stadium bowl volume 1,139,100m3

Did you know?

More information on saving water is available from DirectGov at www.direct.gov.uk/en/Environmentandgreenerliving/Energyandwatersaving

Top tips for saving water

• Turn off the tap when you clean your teeth.

• Replace worn washers in dripping taps.

• Fitting a cistern displacement device such as a ‘hippo’ in the WC cistern helps reduce the flush volume.

• Take short showers instead of baths.

• Use the minimum amount of water required when you boil water in saucepans and kettles; that way you’ll save energy as well as water.

• Collecting rainwater in water butts and using a watering can instead of a hose
can really make a difference. If you prefer to use a hosepipe, fit a trigger nozzle
to control the flow.

• Wait until you have a full load before switching on dishwashers and washing

• Wash vegetables and fruit in a bowl rather than under a running tap. The water collected could be used for watering pot plants.

• Lag water pipes and external taps to prevent bursts in cold weather.

• Wash your car with a bucket and sponge, rinsing off the suds with a watering

(March 2008)



“The international health agenda is failing to save the lives of millions of children by not responding appropriately to causes of child deaths, according to a new WaterAid report released today.

Hard-hitting figures published in the report reveal that the aid system is not responding rationally to disease burden. Despite diarrhoea being the second biggest killer of children, critical interventions to prevent these deaths attract a dismal amount of international aid.

In 2004, diarrhoea killed 1.8 million children, yet between 2004-2006 only $1.5 billion was spent globally on improved sanitation – vital in the fight to protect children from diarrhoea.

In the same period, $10.8 billion was spent on interventions for HIV/AIDS (responsible for 315,000 child deaths), and $3.5 billion on those for malaria (responsible for 840,000 child deaths).

The report stresses that the aid system must continue to tackle diseases such as malaria and HIV/AIDS but calls for a comparable effort to address diarrhoea.” (WaterAid, 12 May 2009)

For more information and to download the report see the FULL STORY on the WaterAid UK website.

waterpilgrim’s comment: “Corporations do not make much money out of the installation of good sanitation. They make alot of money from the selling of pharmaceuticals for malaria and HIV/AIDS. And this is where the money is being spent? How tightly knit are those deciding where the money goes and those that benefit from the sales I wonder? Or is the gap in the financial aid because the price of tackling HIV/AIDS and malaria is that much higher than tackling diarrhoea and therefore requires greater capital? Further investigation is required but whatever the accurate reality is, there are still millions of unecessary, easily preventable, water-related, child deaths. If the world takes this seriously we can stop this.”



Facts and advice obtained from http://www.waterwise.org.uk:
The Facts

Why is water an issue?

You may wonder why saving water is important seems as it rains all the time in the UK. Wet summers and even wetter winters seem to keep the garden nice and green and our rivers flowing. Despite having a seemingly wet climate some parts of the UK are experiencing water shortages. The South East of England has less water available per person than Sudan and Syria.

It is not feasible for us to give our water to parts of the world where they are suffering serious droughts, so surely it should be ok for us to use all our water? Yes, Waterwise doesn’t want people to stop using water, we want people to stop wasting water. The key to water efficiency is reducing waste, not restricting use. About 1/3 of the water each person uses on a daily basis is wasted – it runs straight down the plughole or down the toilet without being used. It is this wastage we want to cut down.

Why save water? – The facts

The UK has less available water per person than most other European countries. London is drier than Istanbul, and the South East of England has less water available per person than the Sudan and Syria.

Water is scarce in parts of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as in England – large scale drought is already occurring in the UK, with the lowest rainfall, groundwater and reservoir levels for decades.

Each person in the UK uses 150 litres of water a day. This takes into account cooking, cleaning, washing and flushing. This has been rising by 1% a year since 1930. This consumption level is not sustainable in the long-term.

If we do not take action now, climate change, population shifts and behaviour mean the UK will face increased water stress in the future.

Waterwise is currently carrying out cost-benefit analysis on the advantages of demand side measure rather than supply side measures. It is Waterwise’s opinion that water efficiency and water meters when combined with improving leaks from water mains is more cost effective and better for the environment than building new reservoirs to increase the supply of water.

The water cycle is continuous and it will rain and replace water that has been abstracted for use in the home, however, there is no guarantee where and when the rain will fall, and your supply might be depleted before the next downpour.

Saving water will not only save the environment, but if you are on a water meter it will save you money on your water bill, and it will save you money on your energy bill if you reduce your hot water consumption.

Waterwise has carried out some research and found that the energy used to pump, treat and heat the water in the average family’s home produces the carbon equivalent of a return flight from London to New York. These carbon emissions are a global problem, because they are aggravating the effects of climate change. Therefore, saving water will also help alleviate climate change and can make the water scarcity problem in another country less severe. So, even though we cannot help other nations by transporting our water to them, we can help them by reducing our carbon emissions by wasting less hot water.

Why save water? – The figures

A running tap uses 6 litres of water a minute, a shower can use anywhere between 9 – 45 litres per minute, a hosepipe uses as much as 1000 litres per minute.

Toilet flushing accounts for 30% of our daily water use – with old toilets using as much as 14 litres per flush compared to new dual flush models which use as little as 2.6 and 4 litres per flush.

Fixing a dripping tap can save as much as 5000 litres a year – if everyone in the UK fixed their dripping taps we would save enough water to supply 120,000 for one day.


How can you be water wise? Simple actions can make big differences.

Inside your home

Healthy teeth healthy rivers: Remember to turn off the tap while brushing your teeth – a running tap wastes over 6 litres per minute. If the entire adult population of England and Wales remembered to do this, we could save 180 mega litres a day-enough to supply nearly 500,000 homes.

Drop a hippo in your cistern: About a quarter of all the clean, drinkable water we use in our homes is flushed down a toilet. If you’re in the market for a new loo, consider buying a water efficient toilet or one with a dual flush. If your loo is still as good as new, put a hippo or other displacement device into the cistern to save some water. Give your water company a ring; they can give you one of these devices for free.

Stop those drips: A dripping tap wastes at least 5,500 litres of water a year: that’s enough water wasted to fill a paddling pool every week for the whole summer. Mending your dripping tap washer could save you over £18 a year.

Fill up those dishwashers: Hand-washing dishes typically uses about 63 litres per session; if those dishes are rinsed off under a running tap the total water used averages 150 litres-in comparison, a modern dishwasher can use as little as 15 litres of water per cycle. But make sure you fill the dishwasher or you’ll be wasting even more than if you were to wash up by hand. And if you’re in the market for a new dishwasher, have a look at our rankings to help you buy a water efficient model.

Bathers beware: A bath typically uses around 80 litres, while a short shower can use as little as a third of that amount. But beware since many power-showers may actually use more than a bath. You can minimise your water use by reusing your bathwater to water your houseplants or garden.

Short, sharp, showers save water: By using a shower timer you can increase your awareness of the amount of time you spend in the shower. Try taking shorter showers to reduce the amount of water you use.

Wishy-washy machines: Before starting your washing machine, wait for a full load – a full load uses less water than two half loads; so, you’ll be able to save money on energy and water. If you are looking to buy a new washing machines we’ve helped you make your choice by ranking all machines available on the UK market by water efficiency.

Frigid water: Fill a jug with tap water and leave it to cool in your fridge. This way you don’t have to run the tap for ages just to get a cold drink.

Burst pipe preparedness: Check out where your main stop valve is and make sure that you can turn it on and off. If ever a pipe bursts, you’ll know how to cut off the flow.

Sparkling asparagus: By washing your fruits and veg in a bowl rather than under a running tap, you could cut down on water waste effortlessly. And as an added bonus, you can use the leftover water to feed your houseplants.

Rubbish for rubbish bins: Try to avoid flushing away cotton balls, make-up tissues, and those pesky spiders-throwing them in the bin will cut down on the amount of water that is wasted by every flush.

Be sprinkler savvy: We all love our gardens, but sprinklers can use as much as 1,000 litres of water per hour – that’s more than a family of four can use in a whole day. Using your sprinkler early in the morning or late in the evening will mean less water will evaporate from your garden and more will get to the roots, where you actually want it to go.

You can with a watering can: Your hosepipe can spew as much as 18 litres of water a minute. By using a watering can in your garden you can significantly reduce the amount of water wasted; or consider fitting it with a trigger gun to control the flow (although during a hosepipe ban you will need to use a watering can).

Invest in a butt: Your roof collects about 85,000 litres of rain each year which then just runs straight into the sewers. This could fill 450 water butts with free water: you could water your garden, your houseplants, or wash your car for free! To get a butt, call your local water company.

The bucket and sponge approach: Rather than washing your car with a running hosepipe, try using a bucket and sponge instead. (Better still: fill the bucket up with water from the water butt). Just 30 minutes with a hosepipe will use more water than the average family uses in a day. And, using a bucket will give your car a much more precise wash.

Magnificent mulch: Mulching is one of the greatest things you can do for your garden. Mulches such as pebbles, gravel, cocoa shell, chipped bark, and grass clippings should be applied as a five to eight centimetre layer; but do avoid mulching too close to plant stems as this can lead to rotting in winter. Mulching will not only keep away water-loving weeds, but it will also keep the soil cool, decrease evaporation, and reduce soil compaction.

Soak, don’t sprinkle: Giving your plants’ roots a good soaking once or twice a week in dry weather is much better than lightly watering them every day because most of that water just evaporates away. Do remember, though, that new plantlings do need regular watering until they are established.



  1. […] The following go-green water-saving tips are taken from various sources including myself.  A couple great references are the US EPA and WaterPilgrim […]

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