It’s utilities month here at Eco Essex. Today’s blog will focus on saving water.
Water has got to be one of the most precious resources in the world. It’s basically used for everything! It keeps us alive, grows and cooks our food, grows the cotton for the clothes we wear, helps run and maintain our cars, keeps us clean as well as our clothes and home… the list goes on! Yet it is so undervalued and taken for granted.
Water seems to have a reputation of being everlasting… but it’s really not. The Environment Agency has warned that England is set to run short of water within 25 years. In a speech at a Waterwise conference in London, Sir James Bevan (chief executive of the EA) explained how ‘we need water wastage to be as socially unacceptable as blowing smoke in the face of a baby’. It’s hard to comprehend that we would ever be short of water because we are surrounded by it, but our summers are going to be getting hotter resulting in potentially 50-80% less water in some rivers and the population on the UK is also expected to rise to 75 million by 2050, which of course increases the demand for water. Water is something we need to treat with the respect it deserves! And an added bonus, you’ll save money too!
When you next fill your sink, I just want you to pause and watch the water as it pours out from the tap. Take a moment to consider where we are taking that water from (river and underground aquifers) and how lucky we are to have it. Consider the energy used to get our water clean and safe and the energy used again to make that water we drain down the sink clean again.
Here are some simple and easy changes everyone can make straight away to save on their water usage:
Turn off your tap whilst brushing your teeth! A running tap wastes approximately 6 litres a minute!
Check for leaks. Taps are easy to notice when leaking but leaking toilets often go unnoticed due to the water dripping down the back of the pan where is can’t be seen. A leaking toilet could be wasting on average 215 litres of water a day. If you have a water meter and this is left undetected it could add an extra £200 on to your water bill. You can request a free test kit from most water companies. The pack will contain a special dye tablet to put into your toilet cistern. This test is easy to use and will show if you have a leak. Essex Suffolk & Water will then try and fix your toilet for free.
If it’s brown flush it down, if it’s yellow let it mellow! Apart from maybe being a little smelly, there is really no need to flush your wee every time! Have a discussion with your family to decide what you’re all comfortable with. In our household we tend to just flush the toilet when it is smelling a bit strong! Maybe you could agree to not flush the toilet overnight or flush it morning, lunch and evening? Whatever you decide to do, even one flush less a day will save a lot of water.
Around one third of all water used in the home goes down the toilet. Many toilets have cisterns larger than needed so flush more water than needed. You can place a Save-a-flush in the cistern which can save up to one litre per flush. You can get these for free from most water companies. If you have a newer toilet with a dual flush system make sure you use the short flush when possible to avoid unnecessary wastage.
Try using a shower timer (or just a timer on your phone) to reduce the amount of time you spend in the shower. You can gradually knock off a bit of time per shower and start to consider times you could turn it off, for example, when shaving.
You can also get different shower heads such as an aerated shower head that reduces the flow but doesn’t compromise the pressure.
I think the general consensus is that showers use less water than baths, but I suppose it depends how you bath and shower and what shower you have, as power showers are supposed to use more water than baths.
Try reducing the amount you fill your bath. By running your bath by just an inch shorter than usual you can save on average 5 litres of water.
To make it ultra efficient and eco friendly, reuse the water to water your plants. If you have guttering outside your bathroom window that links to a water butt, you could use a big jug to pour bath water into the guttering. No waste!! I would only recommend this if you use natural shampoos and soaps.
If you haven’t got one already, use a washing up bowl. It reduces the amount of water you use and if you use biodegradable washing up liquid, the water can be used to water the plants / go in your water butt!
Now I haven’t got a dishwasher but I found some tips from greenchoices.org
* Run the dishwasher only when fully loaded.
* Scrape your plates first – but don’t be tempted rinse them under the tap.
* Choose an eco-setting or lower temperature, if available.
* If you’ve solar panels use your dishwasher during the day.
* When it comes to buying a new dishwasher look for the most energy-efficient model available, check the running costs and CO2 emission on Sust-it and also consider the longevity of a machine; buying a cheap model may seem the best option, but if the parts break or it needs replacing in 5 year, it’s not.
If you have the space, a water butt is a brilliant investment and saves a lot of water! Also have a little dig and feel of the soil before watering and consider if it really needs it.
These are just a few ideas on how you can save water. Also, check with your water company as most provide free water saving kits. Here are some more ideas: https://wateruseitwisely.com/100-ways-to-conserve/?fbclid=IwAR0MDLiTCcMmht4z_bLdUem-HF9oo3jYylcVAzCdFBQ8Ith3OU_4Tlf5A2YPlease share any other ideas on our Eco Essex page!
To finish off, here is a little quote from Benjamin Franklin. Let’s not let it get to this point!
When the well is dry, we’ll know the worth of water.– Benjamin Franklin