The Waterwise 365 Water Saving Tips
www.waterwise.org.uk The Waterwise 365 Water Saving Tips Check taps for leaks and drips - A worn tap washer can cost up to £10 per year in drips. Don't use your toilet as dustbin - Every time you flush you use about 5 litres, use the bin instead. Check your dual flush toilet for leaks - Dual-flush toilets can leak un-noticed down the back of the pan, look for limescale marks or check by putting with a piece of toilet against the back of the pan. Use your water meter to check for hidden water leaks - Wait until everyone is going out and read your water meter before you go and when you come back.
The meter reading should be the same unless there’s a leak (or if you have an automatic top-up on a fishtank or a trickle irrigation system. When you replace your showerhead get a water saving one - There are clever showerheads that can reduce flow by 50% without you noticing. Ask at the shop or check for the BMA label.
Put a cistern displacement device in your toilet cistern - Most water companies will give you a free CDD, you can put these in your toilet cistern and reduce the flush by between 1 and 3 litres. Insulate your water pipes - Insulating your pipes can stop bursts in the winter, will cut your hot water bill and means that you get hot and cold water from the tap much faster Take shorter showers - Knocking a minute off your shower will save about litres each time and will also cut your energy bills. Have a navy shower - Water is scarce on board-ship so a navy shower involves turning off the water while you are soaping up on shampooing your hair.
It saves water, heating and soap!
Turn the tap off whilst you brush your teeth TToothpaste works better when its dry, so you only need to rinse at the end and you can do this with a glass of water rather than a running tap Rinse your razor in the sink - Put a bit of water in the sink to rinse you razor rather than using a running tap
www.waterwise.org.uk Put a full load in your dishwasher - Surprisingly a dishwater can be more efficient that washing by hand, but only if it’s full Don’t rinse your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher - Modern dishwashers don’t need you to pre-rinse, scrape off any waste into the food recycling then put the dishes straight in.
Strain your pasta and rice into your washing-up bowl - In the winter the heat from the water will help warm the kitchen and starchy water is great for washing or soaking greasy dishes.
Don’t waste the water from your veg - Water used to boil veg can be used for gravy or soup, or once cool can add nutrients to your pot plants Use a full load in your washing machine - Every extra garment you can add to a load will save about 3 litres per wash, a full load is where the machine in full of loosely packed clothes – not one where you have to force the door shut! Minimise use of kitchen sink macerators - In-sink macerators can use a lot of water to flush down food waste they can also lead to sewer blockages. Compost food waste instead or see what you can make with leftovers see ‘lovefoodhatewaste.com’ Don’t rinse your dishes under running water - 10 minutes of rinsing dishes can waste 100 litres of water.
Rinsing in a bowl only uses 10 litres. Using the starchy water from rice or pasta is great for cutting through grease without washing up liquid. If you have a dishwasher you don’t need to rinse at all. Don't wash your veg or salad under a running tap - Clean your veg in a bowl then you can throw the water on the lawn too.
Fill the kettle whilst you wait - Sometimes you have to run the tap to get top or cold water (lagging might cut the wait time) use this water to fill your kettle or keep a watering can by the sink for houseplants Drink more tap water - UK tap water is amongst the best in the world and has to undergo much more stringent testing than bottled water. Save money and help the planet by keeping a glass bottle of tap water in the fridge, chilled tap water tastes great! A brown lawn is fine - If your lawn goes brown during a very dry spell, don’t worry, it will revive as soon as it rains and will be stronger and more drought resistant (even the Queen had a brown lawn at Buckingham Palace in the 2006 drought)
www.waterwise.org.uk Look for drought tolerant plants - There are many native British plants that are drought tolerant, ask at your garden centre or check with RHS or HTA. mulch mulch mulch - Mulching helps keep soil moist, it reduces evaporation by up to 75% and it add organic matter to the soil. You can make your own using leaf litter or bark. Save the rain - Over 21,000 litres fall on the roof of the average UK home, if you install a water butt you can use this on your garden Condense your water bill - If you have a condenser drier the water from the tray is fine to use on your on plants Get a meter - A water bill is a good way to monitor how much you use and to cut your bills.
If you are in England and you have more bedrooms than people in the house you will definitely save but it’s worth checking anyway so ask your local water company Shower instead of bathe -There’s nothing wrong with a good long soak when you really feel like it, but taking a quick shower instead of a bath can save 45 litres a day.
Water your plants in the morning or the evening - If you water plants in the midday sun (I know we don’t get that very often in the UK!) the water will be lost through evapotranspiration and it could harm your plants. Water in the morning or evening instead. Try and water at the roots - Soaking the top of a plant doesn’t do much good, try and water as close to the soil as possible and near the rooting area Turf takes 28 days to establish - Turf will need watering in for the first 28 days (don’t water when it’s raining!) and then that’s it. A well-established lawn should need watering If it’s raining don’t water your garden - This might sound obvious but if you have an automatic drip or sprinkler system it might still be watering even when it’s raining so either get a sensor or turn it off If you use a hose, use a trigger - Putting a trigger gun on a hose means it has an automatic shut-off and it gives you settings for different types of spray which means more effective watering.
Get a shower timer - See how long you spend in the shower and see if you can be clean and mean by betting your time and cutting bills.
www.waterwise.org.uk Be a pressure washer professional - A pressure washer can be highly water efficient, but only if you are, be quick and effective and only spray what you need and you can save water, time and money. Bedtime drinks for you = morning watering for plants - A night-time glass of water is a healthy habit and in the morning you can use the left over water to top up your house plants or throw it on your shrubs, good for you, good for the plants, good for your wallet and good for the environment Keep your mower blades sharp - A clean cut lawn means it needs less water and will stay green for longer Everyone loves cleaning the fish-tank! - You might not love the dirty fish tank water but shrubs will because it’s full of nutrients.
Put your old fish tank water under a hedge or on boarder shrubs but don’t put it in areas of the garden you family will use – it’s very dirty!
Don't water your slabs - Whether you use sprinklers a hose or a watering can, make sure that the water is going onto the soil rather than slabs or patios Don’t water when it’s windy - More wind = more evaporation so try not to water when it’s windy. If it’s always windy then put in plants to act as wind breaks or put vulnerable plants in a sheltered spot Use a bath plug - Put the plug in the bath before turning on the taps on, then adjust the water temperature as you fill the bath.
Group your thirsty plants - Group plants with the same watering needs together to avoid overwatering some while underwatering others Slow your watering - Apply water only as fast as the soil can absorb it.
Air your lawn - Aerate your lawn at least once a year so water can reach the roots rather than run off the surface. Let young kids share a bath - Put in some toys and let your young kids share a bath, they will have fun while you save water. Clean hands, green hands - Turn the tap off when you are soaping your hands Check your water bill - A sudden high water bill may be the sign of a leak – if you bill is unexpectedly high then call your water company Be Carwashwise - If you use a car-wash then try and find one that recycles the water
www.waterwise.org.uk Don’t kill with kindness - Plants are just as likely to die from overwatering than underwatering. Don’t rinse cans and jars before you put them in the recycling - Obviously they can’t be half full of pickle but they don’t need to be rinsed as waste processing doesn’t need them to be clean. Never wash your jeans (well not that often) - You should wash denim occasionally rather than every time you wear it, you can hang it out to air or put in in the freezer instead!
Eco-pools - Install covers on any pools, spas and hot tubs. Your washing machine may be cleverer than you think! - Most washing machines have lots of different settings that can save you water and energy and give better performance.
Try and use the right setting for the type of clothes and the level of dirt. Only use a half load when you have to - Your washing machine uses more for two half loads than for a single full load, the half load setting is a good option but only use it when you have to. Are you using lots of water to dry your clothes? – Beware, many combination washer-driers use as much water to dry as to wash, because the use it for condensing. Look for the new models that reuse the drying water for the next wash.
Little eco warriors - If its ever hot enough to have a paddling pool then encourage your children to use watering cans to water on your plants when they are finished Bath water is dirty water - You can re-use bathwater in the garden but remember this is dirty water; this type of greywater should never be stored and should be used away from area of human contact and never on your veg patch Midges don’t like olive oil - Put a couple of spoonful’s of olive oil in your water butt to coat the water surface, this stops mosquitos and midges using it as a breeding ground Prevent burst pipes - If you go away for a few days in the winter leave your heating on a low setting and open all your doors so warm air can circulate to stop pipes freezing.
If you are away for a long time then drain your pipes and turn your water off
www.waterwise.org.uk Water emergency - Find out where your stopcock is so you can turn the water off quickly if you need to and keep a contact list of your water company, a local plumber and your insurance details in case of a burst pipe or other emergency Keep your drains clear - Blocked drains can be expensive and can use a lot of water to clear. Keep them clean by avoiding flushing wipes, nappies and sanitary products down the toilet and pouring fats, oils or grease down the sink Upgrade you old taps - If you have old taps then consider fitting aerators or regulators, these are cheap and easy to fit, they will save water and money and can stop taps splashing and will straighten the flow.
Ask your plumber or your DIY store.
Avoid double flushing - Lots of people don’t know how to use their dual flush and end up double flushing. Make sure your whole family knows which is the long flush and which is the short and you will save loads of water. Beautiful hanging baskets - Hanging baskets are difficult to water. There are gels which you can mix with the soil in the basket which store moisture meaning less watering and better plants, you can get these from garden centres, otherwise make sure you have a lot of organic matter in the soil you put in your baskets Outside taps can freeze too - When lagging your pipes don’t forget the outside tap and any outside pipes as this is an easy way for cold to get in and freeze your inside pipes too Re: circulation - Make sure your swimming pools, spas, hot tubs, fountains, and ponds are equipped with recirculating pumps.
Pots of water - Don’t use a hose on your pots or you will end up watering your patio. Use a watering can or drip irrigation system. Set it right - Water softeners and domestic air con systems have lots of settings. Use the setting that does the job with the minimum amount of refills or backwash. Wash on the lawn - When washing your patio furniture or mountain bike try and do it on the lawn. The water will soak in and the dirt and mud will replenish the soil. Don’t burn your plants with detergents - If you are putting bath water or washing up water onto shrubs try and pour onto the soil rather than the plant as some detergents can ‘burn’ plant leaves, and remember this is dirty water so keep it away from areas of human contact and your veg patch
www.waterwise.org.uk Soapy soil - If you are using bath water, washing-up water or a bucket of soapy car washing water on your plants then try and vary the place you pour it as soaps can clog or damage the soil, varying the spot allows the soil to recover. And remember this is dirty water so keep it away from areas of human contact and your veg patch. Eggcelent water - Once it’s cooled use the water from a boiled egg on your house plants as it is full of nutrients. Give new plants a bath - Soak the root ball of a new plant in a bucket before planting and it will require less water when planted.
Healthy teeth, healthy rivers - Remember to turn off the tap while brushing your teeth. A running tap wastes over 6 litres per minute this water is taken from your local rivers and aquifers. If the entire adult population of England and Wales remembered to do this, we could save 180 mega litres a day, enough to supply nearly 500,000 homes. Check your soil - Use a trowel, shovel, or soil probe to examine soil moisture depth. If the top two to three inches of soil are dry it's time to water. A cut above - Adjust your lawn mower blades to a higher setting. A taller lawn shades roots and holds soil moisture better than if it is closely clipped.
If its yellow let it mellow if its brown flush it down - This is a charming Australian saying providing toilet advice. Waterwise’s view is that hygiene is more important than water efficiency, however as urine is sterile there’s no harm in following this advice if you want to, but if you don’t we understand Ditch the prewash - With modern washing machines and detergents you shouldn’t ever need to use the pre-wash setting – try stopping the pre-wash and see if it works for you.
Natural water for pets - Leave your dog's and cat's water bowls out over night and let them fill with fresh rainwater Irrigation MOT - Check your sprinkler and trickle system regularly (twice a year). Check the joints for leaks and make sure the sprinkler heads and drippers are clean and unblocked. Shady ponds - If you are putting in a garden pond then try and place it in partial shade to reduce evaporation
www.waterwise.org.uk plug for plugs - Get into the habit of using the plug in your bathroom basin and kitchen sink, it can save thousands of litres a year and could cut your water and energy bills.
Clean hair, full wallet - Turn of the tap or shower while you lather your hair and save money on water, energy and shampoo Use your head - Clean your showerhead a few times a year and you will get a better spray pattern and be able to cut your shower time. Limescale build up can clog nozzles you can clean this off with an old toothbrush or use a pin to carefully scrape each nozzle – it’s a hassle but you will have a much more enjoyable shower.
Sweep away your troubles - Sometimes it’s more effective and quicker to use a broom to clean hard surfaces around the garden than to spray them down. You need help - Ask your local water company if they have free water saving devices or services that can help you save water. Water free defrosting - Don't thaw frozen food under the tap. Defrosting food in the ‘fridge overnight saves water and better for food safety. Raining cats and dogs? - When it’s dry, wash your pets on the lawn (if you have to wash them at all). When it’s wet use a pet shower attachment with a trigger nozzle.
Stop weeds - Putting mulch around your bedding plants will stop weeds that will compete for water.
Weed out watering - Weeds use water too, keeping your garden well weeded means less watering. Efficient fountains - If you are installing a water feature in your garden then try and chose one more natural one with trickling or cascading water rather than one with jets or sprays as they will have lower evaporation which means you have to do less topping up, it’s also better for wildlife. Bird baths - If it’s dry outside then empty your water bottle or glass into the birdbath when you have finished.
Flushed with success? - When you are replacing our toilet choose a low flush or dual flush model, these are more efficient and are often easier to clean. Look for the water efficiency label or ask your stockist or plumber.
www.waterwise.org.uk Kitchen taps - When you are replacing your kitchen tap try and choose a water efficient model with a flow regulator, or with a swivel tap for more effective cleaning, or with a dual flow which means you can still fill the kettle quickly! Under pressure - Water pressure in the UK can vary a lot, the next time you have a plumber round ask them to check the pressure and if it’s high they can quickly and easily adjust the isolation valves on your taps to reduce the flow.
Where’s your stopcock? - Make a note of how and where you can turn off your water in an emergency; it’s normally near the meter, or under the sink, or under the stairs or near the fuse box.
Don’t lag behind - Lagging pipes is quick and cheap. You can get a kit from a DIY store or simply tape some nits of old towel around your pipes. It will stop bursts and keep hot water hot and cold water cold which will save you time and money too. Plan your planting - Try and plant new plants or move old ones in the spring or autumn when it’s cooler and wetter, trying to establish plants in high summer will mean they are stressed and need lots of water. Play around - Move paddling pools or water fights to different bits of the garden each time, this will ensure the whole garden benefits from the extra water and nowhere gets water-logged.
Forking out - Try and keep your soil aerated, going over your garden with a fork will improve soil structure, help infiltration, reduce compaction and increase the amount of water the soil can store Avoid compaction - Compacted soil means that water can’t drain away and that the soil can’t hold water so you will either have too much or too little water on your lawn. Rotate the position of play areas and outdoor furniture to ensure even wear on your garden Leaky pools - If you have a pool, hottub or spa that fills automatically you might not notice if it’s using loads of water because of a leak.
So check regularly for leaks, this is heated water so a leak will cost you a fortune, waste lots of water and add to your carbon footprint.
Irrigation time - When installing a trickle irrigation or sprinkler system choose one with a timer so you can control your water use, and ideally choose one with a rain sensor so you are not watering your plants when its tipping down.
www.waterwise.org.uk 10 Binge drinking is good for plants - Giving plants an occasional thorough slow watering enables you to wet the whole soil profile and means your plants will have deeper stronger roots and will be more drought tolerant than if you water them every day. Teacup savers - Try and reuse the same tea cup for the whole day, rinsing a cup can use a litre each time (so if you drink as much tea as people at waterwise that’s at least 10 litres wasted).
Reusing the cup and putting it in the dishwasher or cleaning it when you do the washing up will save lots of hot water. Work the system - If you have an automatic watering system make sure you know how to turn it off in case it goes wrong and how to adjust the volumes to suit your planting.
Did it rain last night? - Keep a measuring cylinder or a bucket with a ruler outside to check how much it rained overnight or while you were away so you know if your garden needs water or not. This saves water and effort! Watercolours - Cleaning paint brushes is a nightmare. Don’t put them straight under a running tap, it won’t work and it will waste loads of hot water and pollute the drain. Brush them on a wall that needs an extra touch-up until no more paint comes off then brush them vigorously on some old newspaper. Once you have removed as much paint as possible you can either seal them in an airtight bag until you use them next (with the same colour paint obviously) or you can slowly wash them in a bowl of warm soapy water running the bristles with your fingers.
This sounds laborious but it’s quicker and more effective than trying a running tap.
Veg united - You don’t need a separate pan for different veg. Use a large pan and cook all your veg together adding them at the right times so you don’t get mushy broccoli. Less water, less energy and less washing up. Boiling point - Only fill the kettle with the water you need – if you are having one cup of tea don’t fill the kettle to the brim. This will save time and energy, it may also save water if you are one of the people who use fresh water every time (you don’t really need to do this unless you are a professional tea taster!) Cut food waste, cut water waste - Globally we use 200,000,000 litres a second to produce food.
Cut your food waste to help conserve the earth’s water supplies. Wash your car not your drive - Don’t leave your hose running whilst you wash your car. Use a hose with a trigger nozzle, or better still, use a bucket and sponge or a pressure washer connected to a water butt.
www.waterwise.org.uk 11 Leftovers ... yum! - Combine leftovers (or any sad looking shrivelled veg in the bottom of your fridge) with the water drained from your veg or pasta to make a nutritious soup. CDDs - If you have an old toilet with a high flush volume then you can either put in a cistern displacement device, or retrofit a dual flush device, or adjust the ballcock and you will save litres each time you flush Selling water - If you are selling your house and you have put in lots of water efficiency measures make sure you tell the estate agent to let prospective buyers know they will have lower than average running costs Warm bath - Don’t drain your bathtub straight away, see if anyone else in the house, or even the dog, wants to use your bathwater (this works best if the cleanest person bathes first!).
Even if they don’t then you might still want to let the water cool before you drain the tub as this will help heat your house in the winter.
Choose the right washing machine - When buying a new washing machine, choose on that’s water efficient but also right for your needs. So don’t buy a 9kg load water efficient washing machine if there’s only two of you in the house, a slightly less efficient 6kg load machine could mean you use less water in the long-run. Ask your stockist or the manufacturer for advice on which is the best machine for you. Choose the right dishwasher - When buying a new dishwasher, choose on that’s water efficient but also right for your needs. So don’t buy a small water efficient dishwasher machine if you got a house full of kids, a slightly less efficient bigger load machine could mean you use less water in the long-run.
Ask your stockist or the manufacturer for advice on which is the best machine for you. Leaky toilets - Check your toilet for leaks. With older syphon toilets there will probably be an outside overflow which you should check regularly. With newer toilets the overflow may be internal so look closely at the back of the pan for a trickle of water.
Second homes: less water - If you are lucky enough to have a holiday cottage or you have a property you rent out then a leak alarm with a shut off valve is a wise investment, it will protect your wallet and your property from burst pipes and leaking white goods. APP happy - There are lots of free (and almost free) water saving apps for your smart phone which can help you choose products, calculate your water use or
www.waterwise.org.uk 12 help others without the water and sanitation we enjoy. Just search for ‘water efficiency’ and a world of help will be at your fingertips Check your plumber - When you use a plumber remember to ask if they are signed up to Watersafe or if they are a CIHPE Registered Plumber or if they have a Waterwise water efficiency qualification, if they don’t they might still be a good plumber but having the accreditation will ensure they are.
Waterwise learning - Ask your gardener if they have taken the Waterwise elearning certificate in water efficiency for gardeners and landscapers. The certificate is an indication that they will be able to deliver you a drought resistant, water efficient garden.
Leak spotters - If you spot a leak in the street tell your water company, don’t assume they know as you might be the first person to see it. Water around your ankles and none in the tap? - If you are unfortunate enough to be flooded, try and fill your bath and sink and as many pots and pans as you can with tap water as your supply may get cut off or contaminated Saver return - When you return from holiday it is best to run the tap for a minute before using the water as it has been sitting in the pipes while you have been away. But try and catch the water in a bowl for use on the garden or to top up your toilet cistern.
Water babies - Babies and toddlers use a lot of water. But you don’t need to use a full bath to wash them; there are lots of water saving products; ones that displace bathwater with a big floating play island, or ones that divide the bath in two which are handy for when you are travelling, or a good old-fashioned baby bath. Think about water saving when buying your baby things (it’s probably the last thing on your mind but hot water costs money and filling a bath takes time – neither of which you will have after the baby has arrived!) Playing with Water - There are lots of fun outdoor toys which use water, try and buy ones that don’t require a constant stream of water otherwise you may waterlog your lawn and soak your wallet, and if you do then set it to the low flow setting.
Peecycling! - Perhaps this is not for everyone, but urine is full of nutrients that will fertilise your plants, but don’t pee in areas of the garden where there will be human contact. In addition male urine keeps away foxes so around the edges of the garden and by hedges is the best pace to peecycle. And male urine has the added benefit of deterring foxes!
www.waterwise.org.uk 13 Paper round - Use both sides of a sheet of paper. Each sheet takes 10 litres to make so it’s an easy way to do your bit and to save money on stationary too. Air washing - Sometimes you can freshen clothes by airing them on a garden clothes line rather than washing each time you wear.
Frozen water - If you are defrosting your freezer on a hot day store ice in a bowl and let it cool your house then pour the water on the garden in the evening. If you are defrosting on a cold day throw the ice outside and let it melt slowly into the soil Check your soil - Check how much moisture there is in your soil by digging a couple of inches with a trowel and feeling the dirt – if its dry then your plants may need water.
Little dams - Make earth or mulch ridges around your shrubs and small trees this will retain rainwater around their base so it can slowly feed the roots. Leave your leaves - Keep the leaves you rake up from your lawn to use as mulch on flower beds or around shrubs, it will add organic matter, increase water storage, reduce evaporation and suppress weeds and its free! Drippy savers - Drip irrigation is a great way of watering pots or shrubs as it can direct water straight to the roots Soft savings - If you are getting a water softener ask about how much water it uses for the backwash there’s a massive difference and getting the right model will save lots of water Drink and save - Get a good quality drinking bottle and take tap water to work with you it’s better for the environment and your wallet than expensive plastic bottles that have been shipped half way round the world.
Don’t cut your drinking - Make sure you and your family stay hydrated, drinking enough water is essential; this is one area where you shouldn’t save water! Brazilian style showering - In Brazil the Government encourages people to pee in the shower to save water, we think there are other ways you can save before you do this but if you like the carefree Brazilian approach it’s your call! Facilities management - At work, ask for the facilities manager or caretaker’s number to be put in the washrooms and toilets so people can leave a message to report leaks or faulty equipment.
www.waterwise.org.uk 14 Use urinals (well half of you at least) - Urinal controls are one of the most cost effective ways to save lots of water, ask if they are installed in your workplace and if not suggest they are put in, the ROI can be less than a couple of months.
Big drips save water - If you have a sprinkler then set the heads and nozzles to deliver big water droplets at a low trajectory, a fine mist shot into the air will lose a lot of water through evaporation Pint of use - At work, a point of use water heater at the sink means you don’t have to run the tap to wait for cold or hot water.
Switch your features - If your workplace has fountains and other big water features, ask if they can be replaced with flowing features or a water garden instead, this will reduce evaporation, encourage wildlife, save money and show clients your environmental credentials Water companies can help - Ask the local water company if they can help your workplace save water (now there is competition for business customers they should be keen!) Parking spaces - If you are a townie having to turn your front garden into car parking space then make sure your use permeable paving or look at parking strips which will give you the best of both worlds.
Share your tips - Add a water saving tip at the end of your email signature, in your company newsletters and on your website. Tweet your savings - When you save water let people know with a tweet (or you could talk to people too!) Don’t multi-task! - So tips advise you to brush your teeth in the showerDON’T. If you brush for three minutes that’s about 20 litres wasted. Brush in the sink with the tap turned off. Pool levels - If you have a pool then watch the water level, turn off your pumps and look for any rapid drops these will indicate a leak. Company business - Your workplace could save a lot of money by saving water, ask your local water company to help you with a water audit of the site.
Think about water when you buy plants - Try and choose plants that are suited to the soil and climate of your garden, they will thrive and need less water, your stockist should be able to help
www.waterwise.org.uk 15 Summer gardening ban! - Don’t make major changes to planting in the Summer, try and install or move plants in the Spring or Autumn when evapotranspiration is lower, they will be less stressed and will need less water Water efficiency’s secret weapon: the washing up bowl! - Use a washing up bowl for rinsing and soaking dishes, rather than a running tap, a kitchen tap uses about 10 litres of water a minute Turn off your hoses - A trigger gun on the end of your hoses is a good idea, but if water pressure changes it could come loose and water could gush out. Always turn hoses off at the tap after use.
Yes you can! - A watering can is a very effective way to monitor your garden water use and to ensure that water goes directly to plant roots. Rain or tap? - Often plants prefer rainwater to tap water, check the type of plant and use the right water, butt is often better. Add colour to your toilet - An easy way to check if your toilet has a slow leak, is to add a few drops of food colouring to your toilet cistern. Don't flush the toilet for at least one hour. If the food colouring shows up in the toilet bowl after an hour, then you've got a leak.
Leaks in the Kitchen - Kitchen pipes and the dishwasher or washing machine hoses are often sources of slow hidden leaks.
Try and check the connections to your washing machine and dishwasher regularly. Efficient taps - Consider installing water efficient taps or tap aerators – aerators in particular are cheap and simple quick fixes that you can do yourself. Does your car need washing? - Instead of having a regular car washing slot, just wash it when it needs it, it will save time and money as well as water. Time your fountains - If you have decorative water features at your workplace, ask for them to be put on a timer so they just run during the day rather than constantly.
Water efficient hotels - If you stop in a hotel with good water saving fittings, praise them in your feedback it will encourage them to do more to save water Water Technology List - The Government offers Enhanced Capital Allowances for water saving kit, so when your business in buying new appliances or fittings check the list first and you could save water and money Don’t throw in the towel - You don’t always need to wash bath towels after every use, sometimes it just need airing. Each time you reuse a towel you save 5 litres of water.
www.waterwise.org.uk 16 Use your ears to detect water wastage - If your home is ever quiet (!) then listen for drips and leaks or constantly running toilet overflows Choose the right turf - If your lawn needs reseeding or relaying, think about what the lawn is used for and select a turf or seed that matches the climate, the site conditions and the amount of wear it will get.
New tricks - When you get a new dishwasher, experiment with different setting so you can choose the right one, newer models clean more thoroughly than older ones so you might be able to use an eco-setting with the new one. New cycle - When you get a new washing machine, experiment with different setting so you can choose the right one, newer models clean more thoroughly than older ones so you might be able to use an eco-setting with the new one. Reduce run-off - If you see trickles of water on the ground when you water then you need to slow the speed of watering and add more organic matter to the soil.
Slippery slopes - Bedding plants or turf can find it difficult to grow on exposed slopes and may require a lot of watering improve your garden and cut watering by planting shrubs or groundcover on steep slopes.
Backwash - If you have a pool, consider using the backwash to water the garden. Dirty washing - Modern washing machine have fuzzy logic which means they adjust the amount of water to the size of the load and the level of dirt, brushing dirt off muddy clothes before putting them in the washing machine will reduce water use and cycle time. Permeability = Sustainability - Use permeable paving for patios, drives and paths, this will allow water to soak into the ground and means less pooling of water French know how - Look at channelling your rainwater downpipes into French drains which can water your garden from below.
Hold onto your glass - Use a drinking bottle or a single drinking water and keep the same one all day to save on washing-up A long soak - When washing up, letting your pots soak before scrubbing means less work and less water.
www.waterwise.org.uk 17 Easy on the fertilisers - Fertilisers are good for plant growth but rapid growth means excess water demand and can weaken the plant, so don’t overdo it with the fertilisers. School of thought - Offer to help your local school caretaker install water butts at your children’s school. Make compost and save water - Start a compost pile, it’s an easy way to dispose of garden and food waste and compost will add organic matter to soil which retains soil moisture Steamed veg - Cook veg in as little water as possible, or put a lid on so they steam, they will cook quicker and retain more of their goodness Appropriate pans - Choose the right size pan for your pasta or veg.
A pan that’s too large will mean wasting water, energy and time Water efficient cooling - If you have air con at home or work, check the settings regularly. Ensure the bleed rates, drift and conductivity are set correctly to reduce excess water running through the system.
Less washing up liquid = less water - New washing up liquids are very effective and can be highly concentrated, so when washing up by hand only use the minimum amount of washing up liquid, this will save rinsing and save time, but still get things clean Nice ice - Put left over ice from drinks into house plants rather than down the sink, it will give them a nice slow drink as it melts. Ice baskets - In the heat of the summer (yes I know!!?) push the left over ice cubes from your lemonade or Pimms into the soil your hanging baskets; it will reduce evaporation and slowly wet the soil.
Shower with a bucket - If you are really keen on saving water then keep a bucket in the shower to catch the extra water.
Use this water to flush toilets or use it to water shrubs. Hydographics - At work, ask your facilities manager to put up a graph the water usage and see if you can reduce it month on month. Ditch the bottle - Ask your work to replace expensive wasteful bottled water with mains water drinking fountains.
www.waterwise.org.uk 18 Work plan for water - Choose a water conservation champion within your organization (or volunteer yourself) and create, implement and maintain your water saving plan. Write-on saving - Write an article for your local newspaper or work newsletter about the best ways to save water and tell people how much water, money and time you saved. Paddling fool? - When choosing a paddling pool for the kids this summer don’t be taken in by the pictures of the huge ones – they will take ages to fill and empty, cost you a fortune and you will spend more time fishing out insects than enjoying the water.
Keep the size below 200 litres for optimum fun and optimum savings.
Keep your cool - Ensure regular maintenance of workplace air conditioning units and cooling towers, this will save water and energy and will also reduce any health risks. Measure it - At home and work it’s a good idea to check your meter regularly to ensure its working and to check for leaks or sudden changes in consumption. Its Water Audit time - Many water companies offering free water audits and even free sometimes retrofits in places and at times where they need to reduce water demand. Ask your company if they are doing audits in your area, and when you see free audits advertised sign up as soon as possible.
Green Deal plus - Waterwise has lobbied hard to get water into the Green Deal, unfortunately it’s not in the main offering but many companies are offering it as a free extra. If you are looking at the Green Deal then ask your provider if they offer free water audits and retrofits as part of the initial survey, many will say yes! Smart Water Move - If you are moving house then ask about any water saving features in your new home. If there’s none then ask if the seller or builder will add tap aerators and water efficient showerheads and a water butt – it’s not much extra cost for them if it seals the deal, but it will save you money on utility bills.
Be savvy about growing your own - If you have a veg garden then think about watering when you plan what to plant. Rocket and radishes will happily survive if its dry, but sweet corn and tomatoes are thirsty and will need looking after and a lot of watering while you are on holiday.
Get your butts together - If you want to catch more rainwater from your roof it may be cheaper and easier to link two or more water butts in series than to get a rainwater tank.
www.waterwise.org.uk 19 No ifs and butts - A 200 litre water butt works just as well and stays just as full, catching the water from a shed roof as from roof of your house, so you can put your butts closest to where you need the water Tank Size - If you are investing in a rainwater tank then think about what you will use it for and seek advice on sizing, positioning and type of pump.
Ideally get a solar pump. A-peeling tip - Peel your potatoes and carrots directly into the compost bin and swill them in a bowl afterwards rather than peeling under a running tap. Meat free Friday/Monday - Meat production can use huge amounts of water (one hamburger requires over 2400 litres) for irrigation of feed and processing of meat, having at least one meat free day is good for your health and will save huge amounts of water use around the world.
Eat in Season - Seasonal food is produced in tune with the weather, so if you are eating December strawberries then either they have been grown with a lot of energy and water close to home or flown half way round the world. You can help the global water crisis by thinking about how food is produced and choosing the environmental option. Water is cheap, isn’t it? - When explaining about water saving at work don’t forget to mention the hidden costs; energy for pumping water, heating and cooling water, and water damage from drips and leaks. For example steam is 30 times more expensive than water.
Love your river - The water we use in our homes is taken from aquifers and rivers nearby, so when you go for a walk by your local stream remember that every drop you save helps your local plants and animals and protects the water environment Credit where its due - If your organisation has saved water then let people know. Customers like companies who do the right thing and people like to work for companies who do good, so make sure you talk about your water saving in the company literature and on the website and on your products. Wash when needed - How often does your workplace wash the company cars or vans? If there’s a contract for regular washing then you could save money by washing them when they are dirty.
Try waterless carwashing - There are lots of products available that mean you can wash your car without water and they work on boats and caravans too. See if you can save time and money by washing without water.
www.waterwise.org.uk 20 Don’t fight nature - Often it’s difficult to grow grass around the base of a tree, this is because the tree root enzymes inhibit other root growth so no matter how much you try and how much you water, grass won’t grow there. So give up and surround the tree with bark chips or a bench. Turn it right off - At home or at work shut off water to unused spaces to prevent leaks and bursts.
So whether it’s a warehouse or a domestic garage turn off the water if it’s not going to be used for a week or so.
Direct root - Cut the base of a 1 litre plastic bottle, take the lid off and bury it in the soil next to a new plant, then fill with gravel. Then you can use a watering can to get water straight to the roots of the new plant. Smaller plant, smaller bottle. Planning nuisance - Respond to planning consultations for large companies and developments. And ask questions about what permeable surfaces, rainwater harvesting and water efficient appliances are being installed. Sub-meters - If your workplace has lots of sites or lots of different buildings suggest sub-metering the water supplies. It’s not very expensive and it can soon pay for itself by tracking down leaks or areas of water wastage.
Audit your work - Suggest that your workplace asks the local water company to do a water audit for the business, a lot of water companies will do this for free (especially now competition is coming).
Out of the drier onto the floor - If you have a condenser dryer then the water from the collection tray will be ideal for mopping the floor: it’s hot and clean. Water efficient drinking, energy efficient fridge - Keep a glass bottle of drinking water in the fridge and top it up when waiting for the kitchen tap to run hot. Strangely, because of the specific heat capacity of water it will help keep the fridge cold when you open the door and will save you energy and money. Bucket and sponge - A bucket and sponge will save you time water and money for small and precise cleaning jobs. If you keep the bucket outside the rain will kindly fill it for you overnight Under pressure - Pressure washers can be highly water efficient if used properly.
When selecting a washer choose one that has the right settings and attachments for your jobs and choose one with an eco-option to save even more water.
Put pressure on your butt - Choose a pressure washer that you can attach to your water butt.
www.waterwise.org.uk 21 Toilet brushing - It might sound old-fashioned and a bit yucky but a good old toilet brush is a more effective way to get stains off the bowl than constantly flushing in the hope they will disappear. Also there are now rimless toilets which require less cleaning which are worth considering when you get a new toilet. Wheely clean - It’s tempting to clean your wheely bins and food waste bins with a load of water from a hose or to even pour in loads of boiling water.
The best option is to clean with a cloth and brush and then swill them out with a bowl of soapy water or a quick blast from a pressure washer (on a low setting or you will get a face full or dirty water), this is quicker and less messy. Support Water Saving - Try and support local businesses who have made efforts to save water and tell them you are doing this. It will encourage them to do more and others to follow suit.
Full blast? - Your shower probably has an eco-setting that you have never tried. Try using the water saving setting in tomorrow’s shower, or even try turning the dial half as much as normal. Try this for two days and if you don’t like it then stop, but if you do it will soon become habit and you will save loads of water, energy and money. Don’t be too efficient! - Some boiler systems only fire up after a certain amount of flow, so be careful you don’t make your taps so efficient that you have to run the tap for ages to get hot water. Talk to your plumber or stockist about the best taps for you and make sure you explain what type of boiler you have (if you know!) What’s efficient? - Efficient products are the ones that do the job with the least waste.
As a rule of thumb a shower should be less than 7 litres a minute, a basin tap should be about 4 litres a minute and a kitchen tap about 10 litres a minute. But see if you can go lower without compromising on performance Not so hot? Get a thermostatic valve! - Some types of boiler mean that you have to run the tap to get hot water. There are thermostatically operated valves that you can fit to the boiler pipes which check if the water is hot, which means you wait a few seconds then get hot water, so no water waste and more efficient boiler performance.
Window Watering - If you use a window cleaning company at home or work, check if they use recycled water and water efficient tools. Be a good sport - If you use a local sports club check how they use water. Ask if they use rainwater or recycled water?
www.waterwise.org.uk 22 Water fitness - Does the gym or fitness centre have water efficient showers? If not it’s your membership money or council tax that’s going down the drain, so suggest how they can be more water efficient. Workplace leak hotline - Suggest that contact details for the facilities manager or maintenance staff are put up in the washrooms at work so that people can report leaks and faults that waste water.
Get e-water updates - Follow your local water company on social media or sign up for text alerts. You will get information on special water saving offers, interruptions in supply, bursts and seasonal water saving tips and hints. Ask and thou shalt receive - A lot of organisations are trying to help people save water so check if your local council, local water company, bank, supermarket or energy provider has any water giveaways or discount vouchers. Plugs and plugs - Saving water is the easiest way to slash your energy bills. Cut a minute off your shower and you could save hundreds of pounds a year.
Shorter pipes means hotter water - When improving your home think about water adding en-suite bathrooms or moving the kitchen. Longer pipe lengths will put more strain on your boiler and will mean waiting longer for hot water to get through the pipes, it also means more opportunity to lose heat. Try and position bathrooms and kitchen sinks with the minimum of pipe length so if you can have the bathroom above the kitchen that’s great.
Know your toilet - If you have a high up cistern with a chain you can put in a hippo and save 3 litres, if you have a lever you can put in a save-a-flush or a 1 litre plastic bottle full of water (with the lid on!) and save 1 litre, if it has buttons don’t do anything! Know your shower - If you shower has a box on the wall then it’s an electric shower and it’s already efficient, if your shower has dials on the wall then it’s a mixer and you can add an aerated showerhead and start saving.
Go with the flow - Do your own home water audit; use a measuring jug and collect the water from your taps and shower whilst you count for 6 seconds.
Look at the level in the jug, multiply by 10 and that gives you the litres per minute. More than 7 litres for a shower, more than 4 litres for a basin tap and 10 litres for a kitchen tap, means that you should look at reducing the flow. Water your flowers with water from your flowers - Water from an old vase of flowers is nutrient rich, pour it round the base of a shrub or on your pot plants