Saving water – lots of water

Last week the British Press ran a story about saving water. The reason was the publication of a report from the Energy Saving Trust, entitled At Home with Water, which you can download here.

As regular readers know, in our household we do lots to reduce our water consumption, so I was keen to discover any innovative ways that we could do better. Sadly, for anyone who uses their common sense about water consumption, the report was disappointing. It starts well, including the statement:

Reducing water consumption is not an uncomfortable burden. We don’t have to be noticeably more frugal – we only have to be aware of the impact of our decisions and make some very simple changes.

Great! I can be aware of the impact that my decisions make! Only, it turns out that I already am aware, so it’s hard to improve. However, there are some interesting statistics (based on people’s responses when using The Water Energy Calculator). For example, showers account for 25% of water use and toilets for 22%, whilst watering the garden only accounts for 1%!

An extract from our latest water bill... I wondered why it was such a big scale up the side!

An extract from our latest water bill… I wondered why it was such a big scale up the side!

It also reveals that, on average, individuals use 142 l of water per day. Now, this is an interesting statistic, because in total in our two-person house last quarter, we used 0.06 cubic metres per day… since a cubic metre is 1000 litres, we use 60 l per day… that’s 30 l each… that’s just over 1/5 of the average. WOW! I knew we were good, but I didn’t realise we were that good. However, I don’t want you to think that this is at the expense of cleanliness: we each shower three or four times a week and the clothes are washed in a (full) water-efficient washing machine. BUT we rarely flush the toilet with water direct from the mains – it’s either re-used shower water or rainwater. We used to have the mains turned on to the toilet cistern, but it’s off now and that explains the recent drop in consumption that you can see in the graph on the left… allowing some mains filling led to the use of 1 l of mains water per flush (because we couldn’t fill the cistern from our water bottles fast enough to stop this happening).

According to the report, metered homes use about 3% less water than unmetered ones, but we seem to have beaten this figure somewhat.

More on what the Energy Saving Trust suggests we all do in a post later this week, along with some suggestions of my own. For now, however, I’m just going to sit here and feel smug!

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