|Cutting down on water usage is one of the key ways we can reduce our environmental damage. Plus, there are significant savings to be made every month if your property is on a water meter. From eco showerheads and fixing leaking toilets to harvesting rainwater, find out how to save water in your home and garden.
When the news is full of stories about heavy rain and flooding, you might question why it’s important to save water. But limiting the amount of water you use at home will greatly help to reduce environmental damage.
Population growth, rising global temperatures, and the ensuing droughts and wildfires are making water security around the world increasingly precarious, and chemically treated wastewater continually harms the environment.
Reducing your water usage will play a part in reducing this environmental damage, and there are significant savings to be made every month if your property is on a water meter.
Saving water also helps to save energy. The pumping and purification processes to get clean water to your house require lots of electricity and even more is used to heat water for showering, cleaning, and household appliances.
Bathroom – Around two-thirds of household water is used in the bathroom, and of this over a third is used for showering and bathing.
You might think that taking a shower instead of a bath is a simple way to cut down your water usage. However, some powerful showers use more water in five minutes than filling a bath would.
How much water you use when showering will be determined by the type of shower and shower head you have installed, as well as how long you spend showering.
To reduce water use you can install an ‘eco shower head’ that is designed to cut down your shower’s water consumption by restricting and managing the water spray and flow. This relatively simple swap should greatly reduce your household water usage.
Fix leaks, particularly in toilets
Any leak from appliances or pipes is going to waste vast quantities of water, but something that often gets overlooked is leaking toilets.
Thames Water estimates that a trickling leak in your toilet could waste up to 200 litres of water a day. Major leaks, known as rippling or flowing, could waste up to 600 and 8,000 litres a day respectively.
Kitchen – Use your dishwasher efficiently. It may seem counterintuitive, but consider using your dishwasher more often. Most dishwashers use between nine and 10 litres of water per load, which research shows is significantly better for water efficiency than handwashing.
Also keep in mind that ‘half-load settings could still use as much as 90% of the water and energy of a full load wash, so it’s best to use your dishwasher when it’s at full capacity. If you don’t have a dishwasher or you need a new one, look for dishwashers rated as Eco Buys, as they use less water than the non-Eco Buy options.
Make full use of a washing machine cycle
Only using your washing machine when it’s full is an easy way to cut down your water usage, as this will make the most of running a cycle. You will also save money on your energy bills as you’ll be using it less frequently.
Garden – The garden also provides opportunities for saving water, particularly if you have an expansive lawn and lots of plants to water. Harvest rainwater with a water butt.
The most common and effective way to catch and store rainwater for later use is by installing a water butt in your garden.
The water butt will collect and store water from your gutters and drainpipes, which you can then use to water your grass and plants during times of lower rainfall.
Stop using a hose or sprinkler, or replace grass Keep your grass green and healthy by filling a watering can (preferably from a water butt) instead of using large amounts of water from a hose or sprinkler system.
Alternatively, you might consider replacing your water-dependent living grass with artificial grass, which requires far less maintenance in general and will not need watering at all.
There are, however, additional environmental considerations to weigh up with replacing your lawn with artificial grass. Although you’ll use less water, you’ll be replacing an important part of the natural ecosystem with a synthetic product.