The Environment Agency - are you saving water?
Saving water at home, in the garden or at work takes very little effort, but makes a surprisingly big difference.
In general, this involves simply cutting out the amount of water we are wasting through our day-to-day habits. Did you know, for instance, that turning the taps off when you brush your teeth, can save up to 5 litres a minute?
If the entire adult population of England and Wales did likewise, this could save a total of 180 mega litres a day, enough to supply nearly 500,000 houses.
For top tips on how you can do your bit to save water, click on the links for the home and garden below:
Saving water in the home
By thinking carefully about your water use in the home and changing some water-wasting habits, it is easy to save water.
Vegetables and fruit should be washed in a bowl rather than under a running tap and the leftover water can be used for watering house plants.
Use the minimum amount of water required when you boil water in saucepans and kettles; that way, you’ll save energy as well as water.
Try keeping a bottle or jug of water in the fridge instead of running taps until the water runs cold.
Half-load programmes on dishwashers and washing machines use more than half the water and energy of a full load. Therefore, wait until you have a full load before switching the machine on.
Try not to leave the tap running while you brush your teeth, shave or wash your hands, as this can waste up to 5 litres of water per minute.
A 5-minute shower uses about a third of the water of a bath. But remember that power showers can use more water than a bath in less than 5 minutes.
Old toilet cisterns can use as much as 9 litres of clean water every flush. Reduce this by placing a ‘save-a-flush’ or ‘hippo’ in the cistern.
Cotton wool and tissues should be put in a waste bin rather than flushed down the toilet.
Dripping taps can waste up to 4 litres of water a day. Replace worn tap washers for a quick and cheap way of saving water.
Burst water pipes can cause serious damage as well as waste water. Ensure your water pipes and external taps are lagged in time for the cold winter months.
Saving water in the garden
In England and Wales it is possible to have a beautiful garden without using any mains water. The following top tips will help you to stop wasting water in the garden:
Watering in the cool of the early morning or evening helps to reduce evaporation losses.
If plants and shrubs are watered too often they will remain shallow rooted, weakening the plant. Leave them alone until they show signs of wilting.
You can use a watering can to water plants with rainwater collected in water-butts. If you prefer to use a hosepipe, fit a trigger nozzle to control the flow.
Careful weeding and hoeing ensures that watering helps plants and not weeds.
Plant flowers and shrubs that thrive in hot and dry conditions such as thyme, evening primrose, rock rose, Californian poppy, pinks, lavender, buddleia and hebes.
Mulches such as wood chips, bark and gravel help to prevent water evaporation and also suppress weed growth, saving you both water and time spent weeding.
Lawns can survive long periods of dry weather if the grass is not cut too short. Even if the grass turns brown, it will quickly recover after a few days of rain.
Decking, gravel, paving and cobbles can make an attractive alternative to water-thirsty lawns and have the extra benefit of being low maintenance.
Garden sprinklers can use as much water in an hour as a family of four uses in a day. If you use a sprinkler, many water companies require you to have a water meter fitted.
Washing your car with a bucket and sponge uses much less water than using a hosepipe.
If you prefer to use a car wash, find one that recycles the water.
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