Minimum effort, maximum conservation.
When you think of climate change, saving water might not be the first activity to spring to mind. After all, much of the discussion around climate change centres on topics such as pollution, carbon and emissions – and we’ve certainly had our fair share of rain in recent times. So what’s the connection?
Climate change and water are actually very closely linked. While climate change is giving rise to more extreme weather events such as storms and floods, it’s also responsible for long periods of drought-like conditions and heatwaves – some of which can prove deadly. Water companies capture much less rain than people commonly assume, and parts of the UK are already under water stress. This means they end up taking the water we need from existing water sources such as lakes and rivers, which can have a damaging impact on natural ecosystems.
Meanwhile, our appetite for hot water – from showers to washing machines – is increasing our overall energy consumption. Did you know the average family emits the equivalent of two transatlantic flights in carbon through their hot water consumption each year?
The situation is so increasingly precarious that the government has recently launched the National Framework for Water Resources – a strategy that aims to reduce demand, halve leakage rates, develop new supplies, move water to where it’s needed and reduce the need for drought measures that can harm the environment. It's hoped the plan will reduce our average water use from 143 to 110 litres per day.
Saving water, then, is a vital environmental activity – but it’s one of the easiest. Ahead of World Water Day on 22nd March, here are 10 tips for fuss-free water conservation.
- Order free water-saving gadgets and gizmos
There are lots of nifty devices out there that will do all the hard work for you – and a lot of water companies around the country will give them to you for free. Check out our guide here.
- Stop using your toilet as a bin
We’re all guilty of flushing away the odd tissue or makeup wipe, but all of these unnecessary flushes add up when you consider that every flush uses around four to eight litres of water. Get a small recycling bin for your bathroom instead.
- Stop leaving the taps running while you’re brushing your teeth or shaving
While you’re busy tending to your face, gallons and gallons of lovely clean water are literally going down the drain. Leaving the taps running while you brush your teeth wastes an average of 15 litres each time, while keeping them open while you’re shaving can waste up to 40! Only turn taps on when you need them, or if you’re shaving, fill the sink with a few inches of warm water to rinse your razor.
- Keep a bottle of tap water in the fridge
Waiting for the tap to run cold every time you fill a glass with water can waste more than 10 litres of water a day! If you like a cool drink, keep a bottle of tap water in the fridge.
- Load your dishwasher properly
Use your dishwasher instead of washing up by hand, but only if you’re able to put on a full load – this will use less water than washing up in a sink. If you don’t have a full load or need to get stuff clean now, wash up in the sink, but use a plug.
- Use automatic washing machine settings for full loads only
If you use your washing machine’s default settings, make sure you do so with a full load, otherwise the cycle will use far more water than necessary. Selecting ‘quick wash’ or ‘lighter load’ options will use less water.
- Use waste water to clean your floors
If you have a condenser tumble dryer you’ll be familiar with the tedious chore of emptying water from its reservoir. Instead of pouring it down the plughole, use it to mop floors or wash the car.
- Water your garden with a watering can
…instead of a hosepipe, which can pump out as much as 1,000 litres an hour. Mulching your plants (with bark chippings, heavy compost or straw) and watering in the early morning and late afternoon will reduce evaporation and save even more.
- Install a water butt
We’ve no shortage of rain at the moment, so we might as well make the most of it. A water butt is easy to install to your drainpipe and can collect around 5,000 litres of water a year, which can be used to water plants, clean the car and wash your windows.
- Fix that leaky tap
It’s a task you’ve been putting off for ages because, really, how much water can it really be wasting? The answer is a lot! A dripping tap can waste 15 litres of water a day – that’s 5,500 litres a year! This easy guide will make light work of the job.
The bottom line
Water scarcity is set to exacerbate the impacts of climate change in a major way, but it’s often overlooked because increasingly stormy weather gives the illusion of ample water supply. In fact, the opposite is true! Water is a precious resource and we all need to do our bit to conserve it as the world warms.
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