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With the growing use of modern amenities like dishwashers, washing machines, power showers and swimming pools, it's no wonder the amount of water used in homes has grown tremendously in the past half a century.

Saving water benefits not only the environment, but your budget as well. Reducing your water use means there's less water that needs to be treated - which means lower sewerage charges in addition to a cheaper water bill!

Saving water is easier than you think - why not try a few of these tips and see for yourself?

How People Use Water

People use water several different ways - surprisingly, the biggest culprit is the toilet, accounting for a third of a household's daily water use!

Water Use In The Home

Water use in the home (Legend)
Water use in the home (Graph)

Kitchen

What you can do:

  • Use a bowl instead of a running tap for washing vegetables - you can save about five litres of water each time
  • Plug the sink and fill it with water to wash dishes and cutlery - try and wait until you have a sink full, if possible
  • Avoid rinsing dishes before loading them into the dishwasher
  • Use washing machines only if you have a full load, as one full load generally uses less water than two half loads
  • Hand wash woollen items in the sink
  • Buy energy-efficient appliances and save money on both your electric and water bills! To download a list of the most water-efficient dishwashers and washing machines on the UK market, visit www.waterwise.org.uk
  • Running the tap until the water is cold enough to drink wastes a lot of water - why not collect it and reuse it in your garden?
  • Fill your kettle with only the amount of water you need

Bathroom

What you can do:

  • Try not to leave the tap running while you brush your teeth, shave or wash your hands, as this can waste up to five litres of water per minute
  • Take a shower instead of a bath - unless you have a power shower, which can use more water than a bath! If you're unsure, check with the manufacturer
  • Fix dripping taps - they can waste at least 5,500 litres of water a year! Mending your dripping tap washer could save you more than £18.00 a year
  • In older, larger capacity toilet cisterns, you can reduce the amount of water you flush by placing a cistern bag or a cut-down plastic bottle in your cistern. The amount the bottle holds will be the amount of water you save with each flush. Don't use these in modern toilets though, as it can create the need for double flushing!

Garden

What you can do:

  • Collect rainwater in a water butt (a container that stores water that runs off your roof) and use it to water your garden. These can be found at most garden centres. Remember to always keep it covered, as children or pets could fall in
  • Don't use a hosepipe to water your garden. Instead use a watering can, and aim the water at the roots of your plants where it will be most effective
  • You can use collected dishwater on your established plants, but not on edible plants, and do make sure the water doesn't have bleach or disinfectants mixed in
  • Use mulch around your plants to reduce evaporation and keep weeds down
  • Don't water your plants in the direct sunlight - the sun's scorching rays could damage your plants and most of the water will be lost through evaporation anyway. The best time to water your plants is in the early morning or evening
  • It's ok to let your lawn go brown during the summer months. Brown lawns are eco-friendly and it will recover immediately after rainfall - even the Queen has a brown lawn in the height of a hot dry summer!

An effective (and visually striking!) way to combat climate change is to have drought-resistant plants in your garden. Below is a list of some of the most tolerant varieties:

Annuals

  • Gazania (Treasure Flower)
  • Poppy
  • Cosmos
  • Mexican Sunflower

Bedding And Patio Plants

  • Alonsoa (Mask Flower)
  • Argyranthemum
  • Bidens
  • Nicotania
  • Zinnia
  • Osteospermum
  • Senecio

Trees And Shrubs

  • Buddleja davidii (Butterfly Bush)
  • Box
  • Broom
  • Elaeagnus
  • Holly
  • Privet
  • Jerusalem Sage
  • Rock Rose
  • Ruscus (Butcher's Broom)

Climbers

  • Ivy
  • Russian Vine
  • Clematis

Perennials

  • Campanula (Bellflower)
  • Echinacea
  • Flax
  • Gaillardia
  • Geranium
  • Sea Lavender
  • Thrift
  • Toadflax

Washing Your Car

What you can do:

  • Use a bucket and sponge to wash your car instead of a hosepipe - running a hosepipe for one minute wastes about 30 litres of water
  • If you have to use a hosepipe, ensure it's fitted with a trigger nozzle. This will stop the flow of water when it's released, preventing wastage.