Water is a vital but limited resource: Easy savings you can make
The widely publicised hikes in electricity and gas bills have focused many people’s attention on these specific utilities, but there are significant cost-saving opportunities in water bills which often get overlooked.
While the costs involved in the supply of water typically make up a smaller proportion of overall utility bills, methods to secure savings on water bills are far from inconsequential to the thousands struggling in the current economic climate.
And when you factor in the broader environmental cost, such as concerns over water scarcity, it is clearly time to act urgently.
Unsurprisingly, the most obvious way to save money on water bills is to use less water. We all know the importance of switching off a tap when brushing our teeth. Yet taking the steps to consistently reduce water wastage has proven a harder habit for households to adopt, with more than three billion litres of drinking water wasted in the UK every day.
For those households now looking to scale back their use and improve water efficiency, here are some hidden, or less obvious savings you can make around your home.
Toilets and taps
Many will be familiar with the benefits of installing dual-flush mechanisms on toilets allowing users to make use of either the small or big flush buttons accordingly. These installations can save between seven and nine litres of water per flush. But fewer people are perhaps aware of flush reduction bags.
This simple, yet innovative product can be placed in cisterns of older toilets to reduce their volume and may be the perfect solution for someone renting an older home with little choice over the bathroom facilities. Since older toilets can use up to 13 litres of water per flush, this is a must-have product for households. Your water supplier may be able to provide one for free, or you can pick them up from DIY shops for around £2.
As much as 10 litres of water is wasted every day waiting for taps to run cold; a fact which has prompted many businesses to introduce water coolers as a quick and easy way to deliver instant cold water and reduce unnecessary wastage. Beyond simple habits like switching off the tap when brushing your teeth and keeping a watchful eye out for signs of leakage (i.e., emerging damp patches), tap aerators are small devices which are easy to install yet make a big impact. They mix the water with air as it leaves the tap meaning less water is used while pressure remains high. Again, these can be picked up from around £2.
Reduce, reuse and recycling water
It’s incredibly important for households to consider the benefits of installing water recycling measures. While some may fear it’s highly complex, the truth is that water recycling systems can be as simple as routing used water from sink drains into toilet cisterns.
Alternatively, you could decide to fit a water butt to your drainpipes which diverts and collects the rainwater. This can then be used for watering plants or washing cars, reducing the amount of water coming from the mains, conserving water and reducing bills at the same time.
Responsible appliance use
When it comes to water-intensive appliances, it can often be a simple matter of changing bad habits to deliver reductions in water usage. This might involve using a timer in the shower or ensuring you don’t boil more water in the kettle than you’ll need.
In general, reducing hot water usage is a great way to cut energy bills. However, if you do use a dishwasher or washing machine, make sure they’re at the maximum capacity (according to the manufacturer’s instructions) and/or you might consider using low-flow shower heads to reduce usage.
When the time comes to upgrade your dishwashers, washing machines and other appliances, keep an eye out for the Waterwise Recommended Checkmark and make sure appliances have eco-settings to help reduce waste.
At its core, water efficiency is centred around maximising the benefit for every unit of water used, treating water rightly as a vital but limited natural resource.
Josh Gill is CEO & founder of Everflow