Water conservation - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle14/06/21
While it may feel in the UK that we get nothing but rain, fresh water which is safe enough to drink is still a precious commodity.
Considering ways to save water for your home and garden is not only good for the environment and for reducing strain on water sanitisation resources, but also for helping to save on water bills too.
Here are just a few ways in which you can make sure every drop counts:
Making your garden greener
Did you know that turning on the tap or a garden sprinkler can use up to 1000 litres of water an hour? While the south of England is frequently hit by hosepipe bans during the dry summer months, if global temperatures continue to rise, we may see more parts of the UK hit by drought and subsequent water use restrictions too. Saving water for use in the garden by taking advantage of our usually wet climate can help this precious resource go further.
Many plants are also sensitive to the chemicals found in tap water, which although it makes it safe for us to drink, can mean that some tender plants or seedlings can struggle to cope and grow under the deluge. Reusing rainwater is therefore a natural alternative to provide a blooming success.
Ifs and butts
Water butts are the best way to capture rainwater, but leaving out a few watering cans and buckets can also help to catch plenty of fresh water to keep your garden healthy.
Long may it rain
Rain gardens are an attractive feature, which harness rain to directly water plants. Using drainpipes to collect the run-off from roofs, garden buildings or raised planters, a rain garden is ideal for plants which need a lot of water to thrive, such as irises and other perennial water-based plants.
The RHS reveals that a rain garden can absorb up to 30% more water than a lawn, which is ideal in gardens where flooding can be an issue.
When small collecting pools or ponds are also incorporated into the feature they can attract wildlife to take up residence, such as frogs and newts, providing a haven for these amphibious creatures.
50 shades of grey water
If you have very thirsty plants or a big garden, using grey water to water them is also an effective way of making used household water go further. Grey water refers to water collected from washing up, baths and showers, and which isn’t wasted by going down the plughole.
Washing up bowls and buckets can collect this used water for use on indoor and outdoor plants, without any poor effects. And don’t worry about any food particles from the washing up; soil and compost can help to filter this whilst adding nutrients to our flowerbeds and vegetable patches.
Saving water in the home
On average, each person in the UK can use up to 150 litres per day, a third of which is usually wasted and runs down the drain.
However, there are several tips on how to use water wisely to save on waste in the home, without it drastically changing your lifestyle.
A drop in the ocean
While many of us enjoy the luxury of a hot bath to relax, these are one of the biggest culprits for water wastage in the home. A bath can use up to 100 litres of water in one go, which can be a huge drain on water and money. Having a shower instead will significantly reduce this water usage, especially if the shower is less than five minutes long, saving around 35 litres of water.
Spend a penny
It may seem less than sanitary, but only flushing the loo occasionally, rather than each time you have to go, can save a vast quantity of water – up to a third of a home’s water is flushed away.
For older properties with older toilets, these can use much more water with each flush than newer loos. Water saving devices, when placed in the cistern, can reduce the amount of water used to refill the toilet. Or replacing older toilets with more modern loos, which use less water with each flush, is also a more economical option, which will provide the benefits of saving water and the pennies over the long-term.
Every little helps
Small changes to the way we use water can make a big difference. Everything from only filling and boiling as much water as you need in a kettle, rather than filling it up to the limit each time, to only washing clothes and dishes when the machines are full, and turning the tap off whilst brushing your teeth, can help save litres of water everyday, which otherwise would be wasted.
Also, checking for leaking pipes or dripping showers and taps can save a huge amount. While it may only seem like a few drips, the amount of wasted water can quickly accumulate, leading to a nasty surprise on your next water bill. Having these checked and repaired, especially before these get worse, will save you water, money and stress.