10 best ways to save water

It may feel like we have too much rain in Britain but the UK actually has less drinking water available per person than most other European countries.

And as the population grows, it means water resources will become even more stretched.

In addition, the more water that is used by people, the less there is for our environment. 

Reducing water waste helps protect wildlife and saves energy needed for treating and pumping water for use in our homes.

So it's more important than ever we use water carefully and don't waste it.

Here are ten easy ways you can do your bit to save water.

1. Turn off the taps

Leaving a tap running while brushing teeth uses 6 litres of water a minute. And by fixing a dripping tap you can save over 60 litres of water a week.

Water coming out of tap
Turn off the tap while you brush your teeth © Thinkstock

2. Boil what you need

Only boil as many cups of water as you need for yourself or your tea round – you’ll be saving water, money and energy.

Kettle on a hob
Don't fill up if you don't need to, by Cadmium

 

Easy way to help
save our bees too 

 

3. Shower with less

It’s easy to linger in the shower when you’re sleepy in the morning – four-minute timers can help. And switching to an efficient shower head will allow you to lather up in less water.

Rainfall shower
Don't use a shower head that uses a lot of water, by iStock

4. Save up your dirty clothes

Washing a full machine load of clothes uses less water and energy than 2 half-loads. This means lower bills as well.

Person holding full load of laundry
Only put on full loads of laundry © Thinkstock

5. Get a low-flush toilet

The average UK household flushes the loo 5,000 times per year. Modern dual-flush systems use just 6 litres – or 4 with a reduced flush – much less than the 13 litres for each old-style single flush.

Flushing the toilet
Dual-flush toilets use much less water than traditional ones, by iStock

6. Eat less meat

Rearing animals for meat and dairy is incredibly water-intensive. By cutting down on the amount of meat you eat, you could slash your water use drastically.

Lone cow in field
Eating less meat will save on water needed to raise cattle, by iStock

7. Steam your veggies

As well as using less water than boiling, steaming retains more nutrients. If you do boil, try adding the water used as a tasty stock to soups. Or let it cool and use it to water house or garden plants.

Steamed asparagus
Steaming veg saves water and keeps in nutrients, by Jenn Vargas

8. Reduce food waste

It takes a lot of water to produce our cereal, fruit and other food. More than half of the 7 million tonnes of food and drink UK households bin every year could be eaten. So plan a week’s menu and go shopping with a list.

Check use-by dates so you don’t suddenly have to throw stuff out. Use leftovers to create new meals. This will help you waste less food – and save the average household £480 a year.

Fridge full of food
Cutting back on food waste cuts back on water waste  © Thinkstock

9. Time your gardening

Water outdoor plants in the early morning or at the end of the day. This stops water evaporating straight away in sunlight and heat. Also, water onto the soil rather than leaves. This makes sure the liquid goes straight to the roots, where it’s needed.

Water droplets on leaf
Water the soil at the plant's base not the leaves, by blueandyou.photography

10. Catch rainwater

Installing water butts saves you turning on the tap to water the garden — saving up to 5,000 litres of water a year. And your plants will thank you for rainwater rather than treated tap water. You can also cut water use by 33% by watering plants manually instead of using automatic sprinklers.

A rainwater tank in garden
Using a tank to collect rainwater saves 5,000 litres a year, by iStock

Still not convinced? Consider this:

Having a shower, cooking your dinner and flushing the loo all add up to an average of 150 litres daily for every Brit. But if you take into account all the water needed to produce all the food and products we use, we actually get through a whopping 4,645 litres every day.

Easy way to help 
​save our bees too 

 

The original version of this blog was published on 21 March 2013.

Person holding full load of laundry