The UK has less available water per person than most other European countries. London is drier than Istanbul, and the South East of England has less water available per person than the Sudan and Syria.
Water is scarce in parts of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland as well as in England - large scale drought is already occurring in the UK, with the lowest rainfall, groundwater and reservoir levels for decades.
Each person in the UK uses 150 litres of water a day. This takes into account cooking, cleaning, washing and flushing. This has been rising by 1% a year since 1930. This consumption level is not sustainable in the long-term.
If we do not take action now, climate change, population shifts and behaviour mean the UK will face increased water stress in the future.
Below are some tips on how you can save water, and you can learn more at www.waterwise.org.uk.
- Drop a hippo in your cistern: a hippo is a device that you put in your cistern which reduces toilet flush volumes. About a quarter of all the clean, drinkable water we use in our homes is flushed down a toilet.
- Fill up your dishwashers: Hand-washing dishes typically uses about 63 litres per session; if those dishes are rinsed off under a running tap the total water used averages 150 litres-in comparison, a modern dishwasher can use as little as 15 litres of water per cycle. But make sure you fill the dishwasher or you'll be wasting even more than if you were to wash up by hand.
- A bath typically uses around 80 litres, while a short shower can use as little as a third of that amount. But beware since many power-showers may actually use more than a bath. You can minimise your water use by reusing your bathwater to water your houseplants or garden.
- Before starting your washing machine, wait for a full load - a full load uses less water than two half loads; so, you'll be able to save money on energy and water.
- Fill a jug with tap water and leave it to cool in your fridge. This way you don't have to run the tap for ages just to get a cold drink.
- Rubbish for rubbish bins: Try to avoid flushing away cotton balls and make-up tissues - throwing them in the bin will cut down on the amount of water that is wasted by every flush.
- You can with a watering can: Your hosepipe can spew as much as 18 litres of water a minute. By using a watering can in your garden you can significantly reduce the amount of water wasted; or consider fitting it with a trigger gun to control the flow (although during a hosepipe ban you will need to use a watering can).
- Invest in a butt: Your roof collects about 85,000 litres of rain each year which then just runs straight into the sewers. This could fill 450 water butts with free water: you could water your garden, your houseplants, or wash your car for free!