IF your home has a water meter, you’re probably used to conserving water, but are you doing as much as you could?
1. About a third of the water we use at home is for flushing the loo, but you can save a lot by only flushing when there’s something solid to flush away. If this doesn’t appeal, you can restrict the amount of water used for each flush by fitting a water-saving loo, such as a dual-flush one that has a big and a little flush. You can also put something (a brick, or a plastic bag designed for the job - some water companies provide these free of charge) in the cistern, so it doesn’t use as much water to flush.
2. Taking a shower uses around two-thirds less water than taking a bath, but this is providing you’re only in the shower for a few minutes and it’s not a power shower - power showers can use more water than a bath. You’ll save most water by fitting a flow-restricting shower or an aerating shower head. These use less water per minute and shouldn’t leave you showering in a dribble. Mira Showers’ Eco showers, for example, use flow regulators to limit the maximum flow of water, while their Eco shower heads use aerating technology to create the sensation of a normal flow using a lot less water (see www.mirashowers.co.uk).
3. If you have a dripping tap, fix it as quickly as possible because it will soon waste litres of water. Often the tap just needs a new washer, which isn’t hard to fit. You can also save water by fitting flow restrictors or regulators to your home’s taps, or tap inserts that aerate the water.
4. One of the best ways to save water is to install a grey-water recycling system. This typically takes waste water from the bath, shower and basin (and sometimes other waste water too) and uses it for the loo and outside tap. There are various ways to do this, some of which are expensive, but it can be as straightforward as fitting a waste-pipe splitter to separate the water from your bathroom’s loo from the room’s other waste water.
5. In the garden, rainwater can be collected in a water butt by connecting it to a downpipe, which is a fairly simple DIY job. This makes watering the garden easier, especially when there’s a hosepipe ban. A more elaborate version of this is a rainwater harvesting system. There are different versions, but it’s often a system that collects rain from the guttering and pumps it to where it’s needed. More than half of the mains water we use at home could be replaced by rainwater in this way, so it could make a big difference.