17:14 12 July 2010
With the hottest first six months in nearly 100 years, our water resources have been left somewhat depleted.
And with more scorching temperatures expected over the rest of the summer, hosepipe bans have already been imposed in some areas and others are being warned to be careful of their non-essential use of water.
Whether you're on a meter or pay a fixed amount, we can all help by reducing the amount of water we use with a few simple steps.
Here are 15 ways you could help to reduce your water consumption:
Fit a Save-a-Flush device (you
may see it called a 'hippo' or even a 'bog hog') and you could save a
litre each time you flush. Or simply place a brick in the cistern so
less water is used to fill it after flushing.
2. Fix those dripping taps - a dripping tap losing one drop a second will waste 15 litres of water (3 buckets' full) a day.
3. Save water when
washing - take a shower rather than a bath, or why not bath with a
4. Don't leave the tap running when brushing your teeth.
5. Use the plug in the washbasin when shaving.
6. Save water in the kitchen - use a bowl instead of leaving the tap on when washing up.
7. Boil only the amount of water you need in the kettle when you fancy a cuppa.
8. Don't use half-full dishwashers or washing machines - wait until you have a full load, at the very least use the half load facility.
9. Save water in the garden - collect rainwater in a water butt, and give plants a summer soaking once a week rather than watering daily.
10. If you've got a garden sprinkler, stop using it. A sprinkler will use 1,200 litres per hour and 3.2 million people own one in this country - so if we all keep doing it, it's very bad news for the reservoirs.
11. For those of you who wash your car use a
sponge and bucket. A hosepipe is even more decadent than cleaning
it in the first place. (don't use a hosepipe if it's banned in your area)
12. The loo accounts for 30% to 40% of household water consumption, so it qualifies for three entries on our list. First off, do you really need to flush it every time you go? Ken Livingstone thinks not and suggested Londoners follow his lead. If it's good enough for Ken, we suggest you try it too.
13. Install a dual-flush loo - the nuclear option in the loo. It has short flushes for a pee, longer ones for everything else. You'll find dual-flush loos at most decent plumbers merchants.
14. In the garden, plant Mediterranean species such as lavenders, rosemary and cistus. Lots of typical English herbaceous varieties will withstand drought, too, providing you mulch the soil during summer. This means putting a layer of bark, grass cuttings, manure, even gravel on top of the soil to trap moisture in the earth, or at least slow down evaporation.
15. Get a water meter fitted. Meters are often associated with higher water bills, but this is not so: figures suggest that having a meter also makes us more conscientious, and cuts average usage from around 160 litres a day to 135. Smaller households could save money, too: a survey in the Severn Trent area found a metered, two-adult home might expect to cut £200 from a normal bill of £ 340. Installing it, meanwhile, is free and it gives you the comfort of knowing that you're paying only for what you use, and not subsidising that selfish bloke down the road with his sprinkler.
On average, the daily tasks and amount of water used and the cost is as follows:
Flushing the lavatory: 2p -
Taking a bath: 15p - 18p
Taking a shower: 6p - 8p
Washing machine per wash: 9p-24p
Dishwasher load: 3p - 9p
Brushing teeth: 2p - 6p
Hose/sprinkler per half hour: 52p - 149p
Washing car using bucket: 2p - 6p
Washing car using hose: 12p - 24p
Source: BBC, Guardian
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