Most of us welcome hot weather and look forward to a sunny summer, even though we’re sometimes disappointed. While the heat is a great excuse to get the paddling pool out and have your favourite ice cream, very high temperatures and humidity can present a risk to health, especially to those of us who are more vulnerable. The warmer and longer days also puts increased pressure on local water production, due to the increase demand for water inside the house and out in the garden. This summer has already seen a heatwave grip Europe with temperatures in France reaching a record 45.9°C at the end on June. It’s important to remember that high temperatures in the UK can affect you just as much as sunny spells abroad. We’ve also got to remember that while we might be tempted to turn on the taps and keep that cool water flowing, that water is really valuable and cannot afford to be misused. “Why is heatwave a problem?” I hear you ask – “we all love the sun!” Well, there are several main risks posed by heatwaves. For humans, it’s a matter of potential dehydration, overheating and heatstroke. These are factors that we need to keep an eye on. For water usage, increased heat sees increased demand, which stresses the water network’s ability to produce water fast enough and accelerates the draw on total water storage in local reservoirs. Whilst it’s unlikely that we will be experiencing temperatures quite as high as France, we do need to be aware of how to stay cool when it warms up this summer while being careful about our water usage. As much as we’d love to, we can’t magic more water out of thin air. Therefore, we need your help to keep demand steady and reduce the pressure on our facilities when it gets hot. So, what can we do to stay cool, help to save water and help protect our local environment? Let’s start with the forecast… Check the forecast It might seem like come Monday we’re hit with torrential rain and by the weekend, we’re rolling out the BBQs in some glorious sun. It’s true, we have very varied weather here in the UK but we’re lucky enough that we can plan for it. It’s wise to keep an eye on what weather the next few days will bring in your area so that you can plan for it. Here’s some more information about the future weather in your area . Keep your body cool So, you’ve looked at the forecast and the heatwave has hit! Did you know your body has quick-cooling spots called ‘pulse points’? These are areas where your blood vessels are close to your skin’s surface and because they’re so close, you’ve guessed it, you can feel your pulse! You’ve probably heard of running your wrists under cool water but there are other areas too. The inside of your elbows, knees, the tops of your feet and insides if your ankle are all critical areas to keep cool if you want to be. Your neck is one of the most influential areas on your temperature too – that’s why we wear scarfs in the winter! Listen to your body and if it’s hot, cool these areas down with a wet towel, rather than running water or a shower, to conserve water but still stay cool. If you need a cool shower, try and keep it short. Showers normally make up around 25% of an average household’s water usage. Simple reductions in shower time can have a massive impact on overall usage. Having a shower for 4 minutes uses, on average, 40 litres of water – half that of having a bath! Save even more with a water efficiency showerhead – it will feel just as good but save even more water and save you money on your water bill. Fancy a fun challenge? Try cutting down your shower time to 4 minutes using one of our shower timers whilst singing along to your favourite song. Check out this four-minute tunes playlist on Spotify – there’s something for everyone! Drink plenty of water We’re all vulnerable in hot temperatures to dehydration. The tricky bit is that thirst isn’t a helpful indicator of hydration. Did you know, when you’re thirty you could have already lost as much as 1 to 2 percent of your body’s water content? Keeping topped up is tricky, especially if you’re busy, but there are methods you can use to keep your water levels healthy. Plain sight: bring a water bottle to work when you leave your house or place a note on your fridge to drink a glass of water. Flavour is fun: want a change in taste? Add fruits such as lemon, lime or cucumber to your water to sweeten your drink. This adds nutrients with every sip while keeping you hydrated! Did you know that your body is made up of 60% water? Foods also have a high-water content, some more than others. You can get loads of water from water dense foods such as berries, tomatoes, celery and cucumber – great options for a refreshing summer salad. Cooling your water down in the fridge is a great way to keep your tap water refreshing. Alternatively, pop some ice cubes in your drink which will help lower its temperature. Both are better than leaving the tap run for ages to get some cool water. Stay out of the sun What’s the saying, “you are what you eat”? Well, you’re also as warm as you dress! In heatwaves, dressing appropriately can keep the suns radiation off you and those at particular risk from the sun, out of harms way. If you’ve got to go out in the heat, keep to the shade, wear lightweight clothing and light colours which allow those pulse points you’ve just read about to stay cool. Ever wondered why houses are painted white when you go abroad? Light colours reflect heat while dark ones absorb it, so remember to wear light coloured cloths made of thin material, like cotton. Headwear is essential, such as a cap or wide brimmed hat. If you find yourself exposed to direct sunlight, remember to cover your skin with protection such as sunscreens with a high sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 SPF, or wear a loose, long sleeved shirt. Sunglasses help prevent ultraviolet radiation (UV) from damaging your eyes too. A simple way to keep cool is keeping to the shade. You may feel 10-15 degrees cooler in the shade, even though it’s the same as in pure sunlight. The difference is that your skin isn’t being ‘heated’ by direct UV rays, so your body feels more comfortable. Check in – Who’s a priority? Unfortunately, I’m not referring to holiday flight check-ins here. This is about checking in with those who may need help, or who can help you! Look out for neighbours, family or friends who may not be able to care for themselves when the heatwave hits. This includes those with babies to people with chronic conditions or those already on certain medications. Know someone who is physically active every day? It doesn’t take much effort to check in with someone who might be out hiking or labouring – a simple call or message is all you need to make. At Thames Water, we aim for your taps to have water flowing out of them, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. But if things ever go wrong, we want to support you – particularly in a heatwave. If you know someone who would need priority help and services from us if water supplies ever go wrong, tell them about our priority services register which they can join by emailing us on firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning: 0800 009 3652 (9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday). So, are you ready to beat the heat? Well there you have it! Some top tips for beating the heat this summer. The warmer months are upon us and temperatures should continue to rise. This summer is predicted to be one of the hottest on record. By following some of these seasonal survival tips, you can keep cool and hydrated while being water conscious – a win-win. A heatwave sounds scary, but taking these precautions means that it doesn’t have to be. Keep covered up and hydrated, use the shade as your friend and listen out for forecasts in your area. Enjoy the warmth and remember, it’s the perfect excuse for getting your favourite ice cream to cool you down too!
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If you’re looking out of the window, watching water run down the window pane, or you live near a river and always see it flowing along, you’d think that there’s a continuous supply of water for us to use in our day-to-day lives – and you’d be right!
It’s true that we’re fortunate enough to turn on the tap and have clean drinking water and flush our loos to have our waste taken away, but water is a precious resource and we can’t take it for granted.
We’ve all heard about climate change and population growth, but often the context is so removed that we can’t really grasp the scale of the issue. Or can we? Well, to help put it into perspective, the population of London and the Thames Valley is consuming around 10,000 Olympic sized swimming pools a day and the population of this area is growing at around 100,000 people per year – that’s a full Wembley stadium with 10,000 people standing on the field!
As you can imagine, this is placing real pressure on our water resources. If we keep using water like we are, we’ll need an additional 250 million litres of water a day across London and the Thames Valley by 2050 – another 104 Olympic pools every day!
So, what can we do? Just think smart. Slight alterations in the daily lives of 3.5 million households can make a massive difference to the amount of water that we all use or save.
Let’s start with the kitchen…
Kitchen washing – ‘Tap’ into these tricks!
The average tap uses 6-8 litres of water per minute. Washing up under a running tap for 5 minutes can therefore require up to 40 litres of water – that’s the same as filling your sink up to the rim, twice. We wouldn’t buy 8 litres of bottled water and pour them straight down the drain would we, so why leave the tap running? The water from our taps is a better quality than bottled water. You can find about the quality of the water in your area here .
The no-brainer big win is simply making sure the tap isn’t left flowing when not needed. But with the simple installation of a kitchen ‘swivel tap’, you can also save a litre every single minute. Doesn’t sound like much? Well, over a whole year this averages out at 2,900 litres saved in a household of four people.
To fit swivel taps:
Unscrew the end of your current tap and remove any washers that are inside the spout.
The swivel tap should fit directly onto the end of your tap.
If it’s loose at all, a simple converter can be screwed on first, tightening the gap – easy.
You’re ready to go.
You can also use less water by filling up a washing-up bowl instead of keeping the tap constantly running. Your plates and cutlery will still be cleaned, and you’d have helped save the planet in the process.
If you’re looking to install new dishwashers or washing machines, look for products with the new water label and/or the Waterwise recommended checkmark as these models can help you to save more water, energy and money.
Bathrooms – Adjustments that are a ‘showering’ success!
We all like to keep clean with a shower or a bath. As we move into the hotter months, we tend to use showers more frequently to refresh ourselves. On average, showers use 8 to 10 litres of water a minute and a normal bath will easy use up 80 litres!
There are various ways you can keep enjoying your showers and stay clean without using so much water. A water-saving showerhead is a simple, easy-to-fit feature that could save you up to 22,000 litres of water a year! Don’t have a plumber nearby who you can call upon? Not a problem – here’s how you can do it…
To fit water-saving shower heads:
Unscrew the existing showerhead.
Save any washers that you’ve already fitted as you may be able to use them later.
Secure your new water-saving showerhead onto the shower hose, tightening it by hand with a clockwise motion.
Like the swivel taps, if any leaks occur, simply install the washer you previously saved, tightening the gap between the showerhead and the hose.
You’re ready to go.
Prefer an approved plumber to fit your new showerhead? We’ve got you covered. Simply find an approved plumber near you.
Want to keep your current showerhead? With a ‘showersave’, the benefits are in the name! Fitting your showersave can be done without the use of tools.
To fit a showersave:
Unscrew the shower hose from the point it meets the wall.
Place the showersave over the hose end.
Reattach the appliance to the wall.
If the gap between the showersave and your shower system is more than 2cm, just remove one of the washers to stop any leaks and always remember to have at least one washer remaining.
Why are showers so important? Given showers consume around 25% of an average household’s water usage, simple reductions in shower time can have a massive impact on overall usage. Having a shower for 4 minutes at 10 litres a minute uses just 40 litres of water – half that of having a bath!
Fancy a challenge? Try cutting down your shower time to 4 minutes using one of our shower timers. Fancy some entertainment to use as a timer? Check out this four-minute tunes playlist on Spotify – there’s something for everyone!
Toilets – A save-a-flush a day keeps wasted water at bay!
I think we’d all agree, loos are pretty important. But did you know that a older lever-handle single-flush loo uses at least 9 litres every flush? Reducing flush volumes really saves a lot of water. A ‘save-a-flush’ is a simple way to save a whole litre of water every flush – that’s 1,460 litres for a family of 4 every year.
To install this simple kit:
Remove your toilet lid.
Press the save-a-flush bag to release any trapped air in it.
Quickly flush the toilet. As you do, attach the bag to the toilet system, furthest away from any moving parts with the bag inside the system.
Place your lid back on.
Wait 6 hours for the bag to expand and you’re good to go.
Just check that the mechanism and overflow are not obstructed and there, you’re saving with every flush!
Did you know that 1 in 10 households have a leaky loo ? A leaky-loo is when water is constantly running or rippling into the toilet bowl. A leaky loo can double your water usage and waste 400 litres a day – that’s 5 whole bathtubs, doubling an average family’s total daily water use and their meter water bill.
If you can hear a flow of water when the toilet hasn’t been flushed or a constant trickle at the back of the toilet pan, there are a few simple ways to check if your loo is leaking:
Wait until 30 minutes after the last flush then wipe the back of the pan dry with toilet tissue.
Place a new, dry sheet of toilet tissue across the back of the pan. Leave it in place for up to three hours without using the toilet (it might be best to do this overnight).
If the paper is wet or torn in the morning, you know you have a leaky loo.
If you do see your toilet leaking or continually refilling, the chances are that it’s not a design feature but a simple problem that needs a fix. Again, this will save you water, energy and money on your bills.
Sinks – Turn off the taps, turning on the savings!
Finally, don’t forget to turn off the tap when brushing your teeth.
A running tap can use up to 6 litres of water every minute. For a household of 4 across a whole year, this adds up to a huge 17,250 litres. Turning off your taps while you brush your teeth will not only keep your teeth white, but your water bills nice and tight. A bathroom tap insert is another easy to apply piece of kit that can save another litre of water every minute.
To fit bathroom tap inserts:
Unscrew the nozzle of your tap where the water comes out, by twisting it anti-clockwise.
Remove the seal and keep it safe for later.
Remove the initial nozzle insert.
Select the required adapter ring based on the tap size and material and insert the aerator into the adapter.
Is the aerator falling out or doesn’t fit? Try placing the adapter the other way around.
Insert it into the tap nozzle, with the white cap facing upwards and the mesh facing downwards.
Pull the rubber seal back into the original position.
Screw the tap nozzle back on clockwise.
For a simple walk through guide, check out the video below.
So, are you ready to start saving?
Our goal is to keep water flowing for future generations to come. We’d love to be able to produce more water at the snap of a finger, but it’s not quite that simple. There’s a key player that we need help from to meet this goal. It’s a challenge, but we think they’re up to it - that player is you!
By following these 4 simple water-saving strategies, you’ll not only save water, but also save on your water and energy bills too.
In fact, using all these tips in a household could save around 44,000 litres a year, great for the planet and helping to make sure there’s enough water to go around. And using all the free products we offer could also save you a huge £342 a year* - enjoy the extra cash!
To start saving, order your free water-saving devices now.
*All savings quoted above are based on a family of 4, combined metered water and energy savings using 2018/19 tariffs. Images for each product are provided for illustration purposes only. Actual product may vary.
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