It’s easy to take water for granted. It runs freely from our taps and most of us pay a fixed amount for it regardless of how much we use. This means that there is little incentive to reduce our consumption.

water comes from here posterConsider however that not only is Hertfordshire one of the driest regions of the country, we are one of the highest consumers of water in the UK. With more homes being built, and climate change affecting rainfall patterns, it’s likely that we all are going to have to cut back on the amount of water we use in our homes, or face more regular restrictions in future.

It’s easy to forget the connection between the amount of water we use, and the health of our natural water bodies. Nor do we think too much about the effects of flushing our waste water, and chemicals, back into our rivers and streams.

On average, households in the St Albans district use around 174 litres of water per day. We need to reduce this to more sustainable levels. The Government has set a target for each of us to reduce our consumption to 130 litres per day. 

What's shocking is that many people in the world exist on less than 10 litres per day. This is how much we use to flush the toilet just once!

Benefits of reducing water consumption

tickReduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions - It takes energy to abstract, treat and supply water to our homes. We then use energy to heat that water. For every drop of water you don't use, you are saving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. To supply and treat 500 litres of water per day to an average family home produces around 1.5 tonnes of greenhouse gases a year. 


Save money - By reducing your water consumption and fitting a water meter you could save money on your bills. If you have more bedrooms than people, it should be cost effective to switch to a meter. Use the online calculator on the Consumer Council for Water or speak to Affinity Water, the local water supplier.  


Support the natural environment and wildlife that depends on it - many rivers and water bodies have been damaged because too much water is being taken from them. The current system for managing abstraction was not designed with the natural environment in mind.

What could you do to reduce your water consumption?

There are many ways that we can cut down on the amount of water you use: 

• Take a 5 minute shower instead of a bath (saves 35 litres)
• Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth (saves 24 litres per day)
• Wash up in a bowl instead of under a running tap (saves 10 litres per minute). 
• Fix a dripping tap (saves over 4 litres per day) 
• Only use your dishwasher or washing machine when it is at full load. 
• Save energy by only filling kettles and saucepans with what you need.
• Wash up in a bowl instead of running a tap and use another bowl of clean water to rinse. 
• If you have an old style toilet, use a Hippo, Save a Flush, or filled water bottle in your cistern so that it doesn't fill to the top. 
• If you are updating your bathroom, make sure you fit a low flow or dual flush toilet. 
• Use water efficiency devices such as spray tap fittings and rainwater harvesting, available from the local water supplier Affinity Water
• Harvest your own rainwater for use in the garden with a subsidised water butt from Hertfordshire Waste Partnership.
• If you spot a leak on the street, don’t leave it to someone else to make the call. Report a leak here. 

Refill St Albans

Refill St Albans LogoThe Refill St Albans scheme encourages people to fill up reusable bottles rather than buying bottles of water so as to reduce the waste and the transport impacts of bottled drinks. 

Businesses who support the scheme and are happy to offer free tap water to the public on request, will display the refill St Albans sign in their window and list themselves on the Refill App which can be downloaded to your smartphone. This will help people to know that they don't need to be embarrassed to ask for water. 

What's more, the Refill Partnership, which consists of the Council, Business Improvement District (BID), Plastic Free St Albans and Affinity Water, will be installing two water bottle refill stations by the end of the year.  

Date of last review: 20 March 2018