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.
The South East of England is classified as a severely water stressed area because it gets less rainfall than other parts of the country. In the Colne Catchment area, which includes St Albans, we use on average 162 litres per person per day. This is higher than the national average of 142 litres per person per day. With population projected to increase by 27% by 2045, and climate 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.
Affinity Water’s aim is to reduce consumption to 129 litres per person per day by 2025.
Benefits of reducing water consumption
- Reduce 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 can you do to reduce your water consumption?
There are many ways that we can cut down on the amount of water you use:
- Apply for a water meter
- Apply for free water efficiency devices such as spray tap fittings and rainwater harvesting, from your 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.
- 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 are updating your bathroom, make sure you fit a low flow or dual flush toilet.