Water Saving Week is almost here, and it's the perfect time to reflect on our water usage habits and make a positive change. From 15th to 19th May, this annual event aims to raise awareness of the importance of saving water and encourage individuals, families, and communities to take action. In this blog post, we'll explore the key themes for each day of Water Saving Week and suggest some steps we can all take to help save water in our everyday lives.
The first theme is all about water and money. This theme aims to highlight how households can be more conscious of their water and energy usage, especially during the current cost of living crisis in the UK. Did you know that, on average, heating water for showers, baths, and general washing accounts for 17% of a gas-heated household’s energy bill? By using less hot water, we can save money on our energy bill too. To put this in monetary terms, getting out of the shower a minute earlier can save 2,500 litres of water per year and up to £128. By creating habits like taking shorter showers or turning off the tap while brushing your teeth can help reduce your water usage and save money.
The second theme for this year's Water Saving Week is all about water and the environment, which aims to highlight how the environment has an effect on water quality and availability. Climate change means that our weather is less predictable and there is a higher risk of prolonged dry spells, which impacts our water supplies. In fact, because of climate change, 15 out of the 23 water companies in England are already under serious water stress. This is a result of an increased demand alongside reduced rainfall, which is causing pressure on water resources and is further exacerbated by reduced groundwater quality and renewal. By being more conscious of our water use, we can help ensure that we limit our impact on the climate, reduce the amount of water we waste, and protect aquatic life and habitats. To help battle this we should consider fixing leaks, installing water-efficient fixtures, and look at methods which reduce demand for mains water for non-potable uses, for example rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling.
The third theme of Water Saving Week is all about water and our everyday lives. The aim here is to help make people aware of how much water we use each and every day. Water is the most precious of our natural resources and it is essential to our daily lives. In fact, the average person in the UK uses 145 litres of water per day, which is 70% more than in 1985. This increase is a result of more household water-using appliances, social norms around health and hygiene, greater industrial production and increased car ownership. All of these factors have changed how much water we use everyday. Simple things such as reducing our showers to 4 minutes and making sure to only put on full loads of washing help save huge amounts of water every day. We should all consider being mindful of our water usage and making small changes to reduce our consumption.
Theme number four of this year's Water Saving Week is all about embedded water, which aims to highlight how important water is to our food supply chain and in the manufacturing of clothing. To put it simply without water, we would not have food on our table and clothes on our back. We consume more water than we think and what we eat impacts water demand. For example, 15,400 litres of water is required to produce 1 kg of beef and 4,300 litres is needed to produce 1kg of chicken meat. The need for plant-based foods is much lower with 1kg of potatoes requiring 287 litres of water, 1kg of tomatoes requiring 214 litres of water, and 1kg of bananas requiring 790 litres of water. As for clothing, Brits purchase more than two tonnes of clothing every minute and we know that the production of just one cotton t-shirt and a pair of jeans requires 20,000 litres of water! Reducing water-intensive food consumption and avoiding fast fashion can therefore reduce our water footprint and address some of the global water inequality issues that our lifestyles contribute to.
The fifth and final theme is the link between water and hygiene. Water is not only essential for our daily hygiene but also for the functioning of hospitals, schools, and workplaces. As the climate changes and populations grow, it becomes crucial to conserve water to ensure a stable water supply in the future. Flushing and personal washing account for over 60% of water usage in the home. Upgrading to a dual-flush toilet could save 12,500 litres per person per year, equivalent to 150 average-sized baths, as dual-flush toilets typically use 4-6 litres of water compared to the old-style flush systems that use 13 litres per flush! Leaving a running tap can also waste approximately 6 litres of water per minute! Simple actions like turning off the tap while brushing your teeth and washing your hands can go a long way in reducing the amount of water we waste.
Water Saving Week provides us with an opportunity to reflect on our water consumption habits and take steps towards a more sustainable future. By embracing the daily themes and implementing simple changes in our lives, we can make a significant impact. Whether it's saving water to reduce our energy bills, protecting the environment from the effects of climate change, or preserving water resources for future generations, every action counts. Let's take shorter showers, promptly fix leaks, upgrade to water-efficient fixtures, be mindful of our food choices and clothing purchases, and practice responsible water usage in our everyday lives. Together, we can create a water-conscious society that values and preserves this precious resource. So, join us in celebrating Water Saving Week and let's make a lasting difference for our planet and future generations.