Saving water in the home

Saving water in the home

We can all make changes in how we use water. Some households could make huge changes but even small changes add up over the months and years. From fixing dripping taps and leaky loos to planting gardens that tolerate extreme weather, there are plenty of ideas in this section for reducing the amount of water you use. We would like to hear your ideas too so click on a link in the Get Involved panel and share your thoughts and ideas.

Hints and Tips

Water consumption in the UK is increasing as we use more time saving appliances and washing our 37.3 million cars.

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In 1830 the average British person used 18 litres a day. This rose steadily over 100 years to 126 litres a day in 1930.

 

Today each individual uses around 150 litres each day. 

 

The average water consumption in Milton Keynes is below the national average but we could all do something towards saving water. Reducing your water use will help the long term balances in the natural environment and keep down the cost of water. Using less water will save you money, particularly if it is hot water as you save money on energy too.

 

The Energy Saving Trust blog on water efficiency is a useful independent resource and the water regulator Ofwat also has water efficiency information. Ofwat also has detailed information on the bigger picture of  the water industry, water economics and how they ensure the water companies fulfil their statutory obligations.

  

The Anglian Water Drop 20 leaflet in the documents below will provide you with useful information and here are a few ideas that make it easy to save water every day.

 

Read through these suggestions and let us know which ideas you like. If you have any ideas to add, click on the links in the Get involved panel.

 

Water butts

 

Water butts can collect rainwater and allow you to reuse some of the 85,000 litres that fall on your roof every year.

Saving rain water for watering plants and washing cars is a great way to save water. Milton Keynes Council will provide some new houses with a free water butt and all MK residents can apply for low cost water butts with a choice of 100 litres or 190 litres.

 

Click here , enter your MK postcode, see what is on offer and start saving water as soon as your water butt is installed.

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 Water Butts at getcomposting.com

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Other types of water butts are available, a quick web search or visit to the Garden Centre will provide you with many options to suit the style of your house and garden.

If you use rain water for cleaning your car, you have the added bonus of no white limescale marks left on your car if you are in a hard water area. 

 

Water saving gadgets

Anglian Water has free devices available from their website. The project is called The Big Bits and Bobs giveaway and the link is here.

 

 

Taps

  • Turning off the tap while brushing your teeth is an easy habit to adopt. A running tap can waste 6 litres a minute. If everyone did this small action, it would save 27 million litres of water a week.
  • Check your taps for leaks and act quickly if any are dripping. Each fixed leaking tap will save you around £18 a year and contribute to saving water in MK. Remember to check any outdoor taps too as these are subjected to weathering and temperature extremes.
  • Tap inserts will save water and are available from Anglian Water.

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Water Meters

Around 90% of Milton Keynes is already on water meters but it is worth considering changing if you are in the other 10% so you only pay for what you use.

 

If you suspect you are paying for more water than you are using, follow these seven steps to check for leaks around the water meter:

 

  1. Open the meter chamber, remove the polystyrene on top of the meter and any surface water that may have collected in the chamber. A sponge usually does the trick.
  2. Check that the meter serial number is the same number as the one shown on your bill.
  3. Turn off the water supply at the external stop-tap.
  4. Turn your cold water tap on, if the water does not flow this means it is your meter. If the water continues to flow, contact Anglian Water on 03457 91 91 55 (Mon to Fri 8am-8pm, Sat 9am-1pm).
  5. Turn the external stop tap back on and turn off the internal stop tap.
  6. Go back to the meter outside. You will see black and red numbers on the meter dial. If either of these numbers are moving you may have a leak on your supply pipe. If there is no movement, there is no problem with the external supply.
  7. Return to the internal stop tap and turn back on. Go back to the meter and see if the numbers move, if they do, this would indicate a problem with the internal supply and you should contact a private plumber to help investigate and repair.

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Save a small leak becoming a fountain !

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Showers

Around a quarter of water consumption in the home is used for showering.  Click here to calculate your water usage in the shower and around your home.

The most efficient showers use around 6 litres of water a minute, power showers use 22-25 litres a minute. A typical five minute shower will use around 40 to 100 litres. A shower timer will help you estimate how many litres of water you are saving. Reducing your time in the shower by just one or two minutes will lead to great savings over the year, especially if the whole family take up the challenge.

Image of Take part in the shorter shower! 

If you spend one minute less in each shower, you will save up to 10,000 litres a year.

 

Navy Showers

Turning off the water in the middle part of your shower will easily save these minutes. Find out how little water you could use by only using the shower to get wet and rinse off the bubbles. This also reduces the amount of power used to heat the water and you will use less shower gel so triple the savings!

 

A simple adapter could regulate the flow of your shower but this is only suitable for some types of shower.

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Introducing more air into the water can reduce the volume of your shower water by around 50%.

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The eco pulse shower head.

  

Toilets 

Money can be saved in your bathroom by modifying your cistern to hold less water. Around a third of our household water consumption is flushed away so smaller flushes will save water several times a day. Also, be aware of what can be flushed and what needs to be placed in the bin. Wet wipes are not flushable, even if it says on the packet that they are. Cotton buds are definitely not flushable and cause problems at the water treatment plant. If in doubt bin it rather than flush it. The cost of water processing could be cut if everyone only flushed toilet paper.

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Dual flush toilets are a great way of saving water and are fitted as standard in most new developments. You may already have a fitted dual flush cistern but if you have a single flush system, it can be converted with the gadget below from Anglian Water. This will save you around 50% of the water used for flushing so an easy way to reduce water as you can fit and forget.

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If you have not recently flushed your toilet but can see water running into the bowl, have someone look at fixing the problem or you could be wasting 400 litres a day.

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Here are a few links to water saving hints and tips:

Anglian Water

BBC

Citizens Advice

Consumer Council for Water

Good Housekeeping

Save water save money

Southern Water

The Eden Project

The Energy Saving Trust

Waterwise

 

 

The UK water retail market opened in April 2017 so now many businesses and public sector organisations can choose their supplier. Supplier is different to network provider. Anglian Water is the network provider and is the organisation responsible for moving and processing water. This will not change in the market reforms.

Discussions are under way as to how and when the domestic water market will follow this trend. For more information on the market reform click here

 

Finally, check for a water label when buying equipment for your home. EU labelling will inform you of how well the appliance will perform with using water:

How many of these ideas could you adopt? 

How much water could you save if you made all the changes in the list above?

Do you have any further ideas we could add ?

Click onto any of the links in the Get involved list and share your ideas with the rest of the world!

 

 

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  • Derek Hatt

    bronze

    25/09/2017

    A very informative article. Amazing how much can be saved with just a little thought. Will give the navy shower a try!

  • Patricia Clapp

    bronze

    22/09/2017

    This is one of the most important issues for the future of life on earth. Thank goodness MK is doing something about it and hope it will be a beacon for the rest of the world. Very well put together and easy to follow. Look forward to following this through as it spreads to everyone.

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