Updated: Aug 14
We use more water than we realise. Research by Water Uk reveals that “46% believe their household uses under 20 litres a day (roughly equivalent to taking a 2-minute shower) when the true figure is closer to 142 litres per person per day. This means an average family of four in the UK could use more than 500 litres each day”. Once more this year has been the driest year recorded in England since 1935!
It only takes little habits to lessen our water footprint.
Here are some to consider:
1. Water plants in the early morning and late evening to allow the plants to fully saturate the soil and roots to absorb the moisture before the full sun evaporates the water on the surface.
2. Use a watering can with a rose head nozzle instead of a hose. The can will mimic natural rainfall and give the plants a more even watering without using tonnes of water.
3. Collect rainwater for watering the plants when the weather is dry.
4. Place a bucket under the shower head to collect the water as the temperature of the water adjusts to your liking. Then take the bucket to water the plants or even save the clean water for cooking water.
5. Knock minutes or hours off your showers. A four-minute shower is better for the planet and is less drying for your skin. We use about 10 litres of water per minute (depending on your water pressure) a four minute shower comes to 40 litres. You could easily save about 60 litres if you are the 10-minute-shower sort!
6. Only run the dishwasher when fully loaded- The average dishwasher in the UK uses about 9.5 litres of water per full load, according to Bosch. Think of the litres that could be saved!
7. Same goes for the washing machine. Make sure you haven't missed a sock and the machine is fully loaded. 50 litres per wash is the average for a modern washing machine. Therefore it is also worth mentioning that, you may not need to wash your clothes everyday, do the smell test or take a good look at them before you shove them in the machine.
7. Watch out for leaks. Discover Water keeps track of the lost water in our water systems. The equivalent of 1,245 Olympic swimming pools, 3,113 Million litres of water leaked each day!
The general advice for leaks is if you spot a leak on your street, to call you water company as soon as possible. Check in your home for taps but also more hidden leaks .i.e. Behind a 'poorly plumbed appliance, In a rarely-seen water tank and due to an overflowing toilet cistern'.
8. Be mindful of how long you run the tap. A running tap uses 6 litres a minute. Turn the tap off while you brush your teeth and use a washing up bowl when you wash up, you can then take this water to the garden and water the plants.
9. Place a plastic bottle in your Toilet cistern. This may sound strange but placing a bottle in your cistern could save you water on each flush. Fill a bottle with water place it in the cistern this will displace the water that is already there, meaning that, once flushed, less water will be replaced in the tank and less water will be used next time you flush!
10. Reuse your cooking water. When boiling veg, use the leftover water to add to stocks or water the plants with nutritionally rich water. Steaming your veg can uses a lot less water than boiling and allows the veg to retain a lot more nutrients if this is your preferred method of cooking your veg, remember you can still use the leftover water for cooking
11. Move to a plant- based diet - the huge meat and dairy industry count for a large proportion of water usage. "The consumption of animal products contributes to more than one-quarter of the water footprint of humanity. The water needed to produce feed is the major factor behind the water footprint of animal products. - The water footprint of any animal product is larger than the water footprint of a wisely chosen crop product with equivalent nutritional value." (Arjen Y. Hoekstra 2012)
After all that you may be wondering how we only use 142 litres a day! Using these tips may save you several litres.