Water carry on
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Date: 24 May , 2007


'Save water - bath with a


Suzanne Elvidge looks at ways to save water

According to the Environment Agency, as of last month, the water resources position has recovered in England and Wales, with a low risk of widespread water supply restrictions (such as hosepipe bans) this summer.

We use a lot of water in the UK – we use 70% more water than we did thirty years ago, and on average in the UK we use 150 litres per person per day, three times more water than someone living in Africa.

Calculate your water use – you might be shocked (or pleasantly surprised!) So to try to reduce our water consumption, and to ease any drought restrictions that might occur, here are a whole bucketful of hints and tips.


Don’t leave the tap running when cleaning your teeth – this saves up to 5 gallons of water.

Have a shower instead of a bath (with a water-saving shower head) – a shower uses about 27 litres, compared with 80 litres for a bath (but watch out for power showers – these can use as much water as a bath)

Stop washing your hair – Matthew Parris challenged Andrew Marr to do this in 2006 (and it’s better for the environment too)

Stop the toilet overflow dripping

Fit a water saver in the loo – use a Hippo or Save-A-Flush water saver (contact your local water authority – some will provide them for free), fit an Interflush, which only uses the amount of water that you need, or just put a plastic bottle or two filled with water in the cistern.

If you are fitting a new toilet make sure it’s a dual-flush or low-flush one, or install a composting toilet. Think about a grey water harvesting system for flushing the loo.

Take a jug into the shower to collect hot water for shaving

‘Save water, bath with a friend’ – well, that’s what they told us in 1976!


Water saving and spray taps can reduce water if you leave the tap running when washing vegetables – but better to fill a basin and then use the left over water on the garden or in the compost heap

Stop taps dripping – a dripping tap can waste 7,000 gallons (31,500 litres) a year

A dishwasher can use less water than washing up by hand if you only use it when it is completely full – if you are buying a new one make sure that it is water-efficient

Consider installing a rainwater harvesting system for washing machines and toilet flushing


Water the garden with rainwater from a water butt (see if your local council or water authority have one cheap) or grey water recycled from your bath, shower or washing machine (probably better on the lawn or flower beds rather than vegetables). If you store grey water in a water butt, a layer of charcoal might help keep the water sweet

Water the garden in the morning or evening to reduce evaporation and avoid leaves scorching

Use a watering can rather than a hosepipe – you will use a lot less water. In an hour, a hosepipe uses as much water as a family of four uses in a day

Mulch with compost, wood chip, chipped bark, grass clippings or cocoa shells to reduce evaporation. A warning a bout cocoa mulch – this can be harmful to dogs and cats

Grow drought-resistant plants


Wash your car using a bucket of water (4 litres rather than a hosepipe (135 litres) or a car wash (unless it’s a green one) - or wait for the inflatable car wash.

And finally, finish off with a water game.


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