Looking for tips on how to save water at home? From your kitchen to your bathroom, even the smallest changes can make a big difference. We’ve got loads of simple ways to save water, so let’s dive in… How much water do you use each day? We all know we need to turn off the taps while we’re brushing our teeth and washing the dishes, but using the kitchen sink and bathroom basin only accounts for 23% of the water we use. So, what happens to the other 76%? According to our research, we only drink around 2% of the water we use every day. Even our flowers drink more than us, with an average 4% used outside in the garden! It’s not surprising that flushing the toilet, running the bath and hopping in the shower use up the most water. So, where better to start with our water-saving advice than in the bathroom? 8 simple ways to save water in your bathroom 1. Take shorter showers Such a small thing can make a huge difference. On average, a shower uses 10 litres of water a minute. That means a 10-minute shower can use 100 litres of water. If a family of four reduced their shower time by just one minute, they could save £45 on metered water bills, up to £52 on energy bills and as much as 11,648 litres of water a year. Best of all, cutting your shower time down to four minutes won’t just save water – it’ll also give you a couple of extra minutes in bed in the morning... 2. Skip the shower from time to time In warmer weather, it can be tempting to hop in the shower multiple times of day just to cool down. If you know you’re a serial showerer, consider cutting down to only one shower a day. If you’re struggling in the heat, why not fill a spray bottle with water and spritz it over your face and body for a quick cool down? It’ll use way less water, and it’ll be like walking through a cloud! 3. If it’s yellow, let it mellow This one may not be for everybody, but you could help to save water by flushing the loo less often. After all, there’s no law that you need to flush every single time. Each flush of an older lever-handle loo uses nine litres of water, while a push-button dual-flush uses three to six litres every flush. If the thought of not flushing makes you cringe, why not install one of our free save-a-flush devices instead? It could help you conserve one whole litre every single time you flush. 4. Turn off the tap while you brush your teeth Even though we all know we should do this, it can be surprisingly hard to get in the habit of turning off the tap every day, especially if you’re manically running around trying to get the kids ready for school. But a running tap can use six litres of water a minute, so this really is a simple and surprisingly effective way to save water at home. You can also turn off the tap while you’re washing your hands, washing your face or shaving. The couple of hundreds of litres saved a week will make a big difference! 5. Fix leaky loos A single leaky loo can waste an average of around 400 litres of water a day, which is the equivalent of five full bathtubs. If you’re on a metered bill, that could cost you as much as £300 a year. Worried you might have one? Find out how to fix your leaky loo now. 6. Fix dripping taps While you’re checking for leaky loos, check for dripping taps too! A single dripping tap can waste more than 60 litres of water a week. That’s the same as 39 bathtubs of water a year. Need help fixing a dripping tap? Check out our list of approved plumbers to get it sorted ASAP. 7. Pop a bucket in your shower Do you ever run the shower for a minute until it’s warm enough to get in? We understand why, especially when it’s cold outside and the thought of freezing water makes you want to cry. But all that lovely water shouldn’t go to waste! One simple way to save water is to pop a bucket in your shower, catching the flow as it falls. You can then use this bucket of water for almost anything, like washing your car or watering your plants. 8. Put the plug in We know how important it is to get the temperature of your bath *just right*, but we recommend putting your plug in before you start testing the temperature. That way, you won’t waste a drop. Don’t forget to keep on top of the temperature while you wait for your bath to fill. Then you won’t need to add extra hot or cold water right at the end – or even worse, let some water out to top it straight back up… 8 simple ways to save water in your kitchen 1. Fully load your dishwasher and washing machine If you pop the dishwasher on half empty, you’ll use the same amount of water and energy you would have if you’d filled it to the brim. Why not wait until it’s full and save yourself the hassle? You can also do the same thing with your washing machine. Top tip – if you’re planning to replace either appliance soon, check to see if your new one has a water label or a Waterwise Recommended Checkmark. These models can help you to save water well as energy and money. 2. Keep cold water in your fridge There’s nothing more refreshing than a cold glass of water. Instead of running the tap until it turns cold, just fill a reusable bottle or jug of water and pop it in your fridge. 3. Use a washing-up bowl Hands up if you hate washing up! If you leave the tap running for 10 minutes, you’ll probably use around 60 litres of water – way more than you’d need to fill a standard size washing-up bowl. To save yourself time as well as water, why not leave things like pots and pans to soak? This will help to lift stubborn traces of food without you needing to scrub them for so long under the tap. 4. Don’t fill the kettle to the brim Overfilling the kettle may not seem like a big deal, but don’t forget you’ll also use unnecessary electricity to heat the extra water up. Try to only fill the kettle with the amount of water you need for your cuppa – you can make one for your other half too, if you’re feeling generous 😉 5. Use the right size pots and pans This is such a simple way to help save water in daily life. Instead of just grabbing the saucepan closest to hand, think carefully about the size and how much water you really need. Only boiling a couple of eggs, for example? Go for the smallest pan you have. 6. Save leftover cooking water Whenever you cook pasta, steam your veggies or boil rice, don’t let the leftover water go to waste. Just pop the pan on the side, let the water cool down and then use it to feed your plants. The water will be packed full of helpful nutrients, which your plants with love! 7. Spot clean your floors Every now and then, you’re going to want to do a deep clean of your kitchen. But for minor spills, leave the mop and bucket in the cupboard and reach for a damp cloth instead. Spot cleaning your floors can help to save around 13.5 litres (a standard bucket size of water) each time. 8. Fit free water-saving devices Our free water-saving devices can help you save water, money and energy in the kitchen. Fit a swivel tap and you could save as much as one litre per minute, totalling approximately 2,900 litres a year. They’re super easy to install and won’t affect the performance of your tap. Find out more about our free water-saving devices now. 3 simple ways to save water everywhere else 1. Skip the car wash This one gives you a nice excuse to put your feet up! We all love it when our car gleams, but it doesn’t have to shine brighter than a diamond all the time. If you’re washing your car every weekend, why not cut down to washing it once a month or once every couple of months? If you’re on a metered bill, you’ll save money, too. 2. Go green in the garden Whether it’s recycling rainwater, planting more trees or turning off the hose, there’s loads you can do to be more sustainable in the garden. Your plants and lawn don’t actually need drinking quality water, so capturing rain with a water butt is a great saver. Find out how to save water in your garden now. 3. Keep an eye on your bill Smart meters can help you to track how much water you use. If you have one, take the time to look for any unusual spikes in your water use. If your bill seems unusually expensive, you may have a leak. Don’t have a smart meter yet? We’re slowly rolling them out across our region to put customers like you in control of your bill and make it much easier for you to save. If you’re still not convinced, take a look at our water-saving calculator to discover how a water meter could save you water, energy and money. Ready to start saving water at home? As our population keeps growing and our weather becomes more unpredictable, changing our habits will become more important than ever. It doesn’t have to affect your daily routine – simple changes can make a huge difference. After a few weeks, we reckon you’ll make habits for life. In the short term, you’ll save money on your water and energy bills. In the long term, you’ll help to protect our water supply and planet for future generations to come. Got any more water-saving tips for us? Let us know in the comments!
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Saving water in your garden doesn’t mean that your plants need to suffer. In fact, you may find that your garden blooms better than ever if you design it with saving water in mind.
Whether you’re a keen beginner or seasoned pro, why not get your green fingers dirty with our sustainable water-saving tips?
1. Plant trees
Trees usually need less water to survive than your lawn - around 68 litres of water a week. But they can also release over 2,000 litres every single day. Their leaves and bark store hundreds of litres after just a couple of centimetres of rain, some of which the tree will slowly release into the surrounding soil. The rest will travel from the deepest roots to the tips of the topmost leaves, evaporating back into the atmosphere as an essential part of our water cycle.
So, how does this help you save water in your garden? Trees provide shade, so even when the sun’s shining, less water will evaporate from the soil around the base of your tree. This can help surrounding greenery to thrive. When leaves fall in autumn, they’ll slowly decay, helping to trap even more moisture in the soil. This natural mulch contains essential nutrients that will help your tree grow taller and your plants grow stronger.
Plant native trees such as hawthorn, holly, birch or willow and you’ll not only help to save water in your garden, but you’ll also encourage animals like birds, butterflies and hedgehogs to stop by.
2. Install a water butt
When it rains, the water usually runs straight off your roof and into your drain. But why let all that water go to waste when a water butt collects an average of 85,000 litres of runoff a year? That’s enough to fill approximately 370 buckets, which you could use to wash your car, or 500 watering cans, which you could use to water your plants.
If you’re wondering where you’d fit a massive barrel-shaped bucket in your own garden, don’t worry. You can get compact water butts to fit even the tiniest spaces – including wall-mounted ones!
3. Weed regularly
Weeds are the enemy of keen gardeners everywhere. Just like every other plant, they need water and nutrients from the soil to survive. So, if you don’t tackle that tangle of weeds around your borders and beds, they’ll compete with your plants for water and leave them starving.
You don’t need to splash out on expensive weed killers – pulling weeds before they grow out of control is one of the easiest ways to protect your garden from invasive species. It can be easier to do this after it’s rained when the soil is a bit soggy.
4. Make the most of mulching
Mulch is one of the best ways to help your soil retain moisture. Not only does it help to prevent evaporation, but it also often helps to stop weeds growing (if you’ve pre-weeded the area and laid down a thick enough layer) and adds vital nutrients to your soil.
You can buy pre-made organic mulch, or you can make it yourself with things like fallen leaves, straw, leftover grass cuttings, chopped-up tree branches, compost and pine needles. Here’s how to make the most of mulch:
Trees: Use your lawnmower to shred fallen leaves to create a nutrient-rich mulch for free
Flowers: Wood chips or shredded leaves are perfect for flowerbeds and shrub borders
Vegetables: Grass clippings are rich in nitrogen, making them great for your veggie patch. You can also try straw, but be careful not to pile it too high around your plants
5. Water at the right time
Did you know that watering your plants at the right time can promote plant growth? Most of the time, watering early in the morning or late in the evening is your best bet because it’s cooler and less windy outside. This means the water’s more likely to soak deep into the soil rather than evaporating quickly.
As lots of things can affect evaporation, from the type of soil and amount of mulch to the size or type of pot, you’re best not to follow a regular schedule (e.g. watering at 8am, three times a week). Instead, only water thoroughly when the soil needs it. If you’re not sure, check if the soil feels dry by sticking your finger in a couple of inches.
6. Choose water-wise plants
Want a low-maintenance garden that still looks beautiful? Choose plants that need less water to thrive. Here are just a few suggestions:
Hybrid musk roses
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Where does your water come from? We don’t blame you if your first thought is ‘my tap’. Whether you’re popping on the kettle or hopping in the shower, it’s easy to take for granted that water’s always right there when you need it. But every drop of water embarks on its own journey before it flows through your pipes. This journey could take billions of years, meaning your humble glass of water could be older than you, the dinosaurs or even the Sun. In fact, scientists reckon that as much as 50% of the water on earth could have come from interstellar space before the Sun burst into being. That’s pretty mind-blowing, if you ask us. Are you ready to channel your inner raindrop and join water on its wild and wonderful journey from the edge of the atmosphere to the depths of the earth? Read on… Raindrops are falling on your head Heat from the Sun causes water to evaporate from our rivers and oceans, rising upwards as water vapour. Clouds form in the sky when this rising air cools down quickly, causing water vapour molecules to clump together. While these clouds look light and fluffy, they’re actually made up of billions of tiny water droplets. Scientists reckon some could weigh as much as 100 million tonnes – that’s the equivalent of around 40 million elephants hanging out above your head. When the water droplets get too heavy, they start falling to the ground, and we start reaching for our umbrellas and our wellies, ready to splash our way to work. It sometimes feels like it’s always raining in the UK, but maybe that’s because we Brits love to talk about the weather. We do have a variable climate, which means our weather can be unpredictable (and it’s getting more and more unpredictable every year). But did you know London actually gets less annual rainfall than Sydney, the land of sunshine, surfing, and shrimps on the barbie? We get a lot of grey days, but grey doesn’t always mean rain. It’s no wonder that every drop we get is so essential. Going with the flow Rain isn’t just for singing in – it’s for drinking, washing and flushing loos, too! After rainwater falls from the sky, some flows straight into rivers. We use much of this water to supply our millions of customers around the region. In London, for example, around 80% of the water we use comes from our rivers. In the Thames Valley, this drops to 30%. So, where does the rest of our water come from? We tap into supplies deep underground, pumping it out of natural sources we call aquifers. Most of our rivers are also supplied by these aquifers, making groundwater our number one water source. When it’s colder outside, the ground stays wet longer and more rainwater soaks into the aquifers beneath. This means we rely on winter rain the most. In the summer, most rainfall is used by plants or evaporates straight away. The fact that we take all of our water from natural sources is a good thing. If you were to dig deep around much of our area, you’d find lots of soft chalky limestone rocks. When rain seeps through this rock, it acts as a natural filter and adds traces of natural, healthy minerals like magnesium, calcium and potassium, making our water hard and giving it its own distinctive great taste. Not only that, but some studies suggest that the magnesium in hard water could even be good for your heart health – who knew? Of course, we can only pump a certain amount of water out of our rivers and aquifers. To care for the environment and local water sources, we also need to make sure there’s still enough left for local wildlife and plants to thrive. From the planet to your pipes Turning on your tap takes less than a second, but the natural process behind it can take thousands of years. In the grand scheme of the water cycle, we’re just a drop in the ocean (pun intended). With that being said, our role is an essential one because we make sure your water’s safe to drink. We do this by properly cleaning everything we pump out of local rivers and aquifers. We then supply more than 2.6 billion litres of this water to homes like yours every day. It’s our job to make sure that your water flows straight out of your taps, clean and fresh. Not only do we use up to 10 different filtering methods to do this, we also test the water at every stage of the treatment process, producing a staggering 2.5 million test results each year. This means our water is actually some of the highest quality tap water in the world. After that, we pump the water straight into our complex network of pipes and storage reservoirs, which span over 20,000 miles under every road. Then it’s not seen again until you turn on your tap. From that point on, any water that you pour down your plughole is filtered and cleaned by us, and then safely pumped back into local rivers. And the cycle begins again… Why is water’s journey so important? By 2050, there’ll be an extra two million people living in London and the Thames Valley. If we keep using water like we are today, we’ll need an extra 250 million litres of water a day to meet demand in our area. That’s a scary figure because: We can’t ask the clouds to make more rain. We can’t take more water from our local rivers without damaging the environment. We can’t know for sure what the future holds for our planet. Our water may have been around for billions of years, but we need to care for it if we want it to last for billions more to come. The good news is that we can all help to look after every drop. Find out how you can help to care for water now.
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