Why you need to reduce your day to day water usage
We need to reduce our water consumption or we’re about to have a very serious water problem on our hands.
Recently, I watched a BBC documentary about the water situation in the UK and in today’s post, I’d like to address it. I’ll tell you what we’re faced with right now, as well as the shortages that await us in the future if we fail to take action.
England is expected to face devastating water shortages within the next 25 years
We’ve gone a long way in a couple of thousand years. We’ve built massive monuments and great cities, we’ve conquered the tallest mountains, and we’ve started exploring the stars. But our relentless march forward has taken its toll on our world and it’s time we faced the consequences.
According to Sir James Bevan, the consequences are catching up with us. In less than 25 years from now, we might have an “existential threat” on our hands.
Over the last two decades, our behaviour towards a lot of harmful things has taken a turn for the better. We’ve already changed the way we look at smoking, seatbelts and plastics (I’ve written a pretty detailed piece on plastic pollution, which you can read by following this link. And, if we can do all of that, then surely, we can manage to save a bit of water, right?
The UK has a water consumption problem – a look at the underlying causes
As I noted above, the average household in the UK ends up using around 140 litres of water on a daily basis.
Here’s a detailed breakdown of where it all goes, courtesy of The Energy Saving Trust & the BBC
- 40% (56 litres) of our total water consumption is in the bathroom
- 22% (31 litres) of our water consumption happens in the toilet
- 22% (31 litres) of our water consumption has to do with cold water
- 9% (13 litres) of our water consumption is done via washing machines
- 5% (7 litres) of our water consumption is attributed to the dishwasher
- 2% (3 litres) of our water consumption is related to outdoor activities
And while some of these numbers can be a tad skewed due to leaks and infrastructural weaknesses, it’s mostly up to us, as individuals to make the change.
Practical tips and tricks to reduce your day-to-day water usage
“If by 2050 we reduced per capita consumption to 100 litres a day, leakage by 50%, and did nothing else, it would provide enough water for an additional 20 million people without taking any more from the environment,” Sir James notes.
But what can we do at home to lower our water consumption by a staggering 25%? Here are some pointers to get you started:
- Invest in a low-flush toilet – low-flush toilets can make a big difference to the amount of water, we spend on our toilet activities.
- Showers instead of baths – while most people are thoroughly in love with long and deep warm baths we can all survive without them.
- Get more efficient shower-heads – while we’re on the topic of showering, I’d also like to suggest getting a more efficient shower-head.
- Upgrade to a better washing machine – older washing machine models can also be quite the water- hogs. If possible, I’d urge you to have a look at some of the newer, more efficient models.
- Run the dishwasher efficiently – Try to fill your dishwasher up before you turn it on – each cycle will use up just as much water, regardless of what’s inside.
- Try a more minimalist lifestyle! – Try buying and consuming less … of everything! On top of all its other benefits, leading a simpler life can dramatically reduce your water use, researchers say. For a more detailed look at leading a minimalist lifestyle, check out my article on the subject here.
- Mind the tap water – all of us should try to be more mindful of our tap water consumption. Between washing our hands and brushing our teeth, turning the tap off when we don’t need running water can make a real difference!
- Only use as much as you need – if you’re preparing coffee or tea, try to just boil as much water as you will actually use. If one cup of tea is what you’re after, you don’t really need to boil 2 litres of water now, do you?
- Check for leaks – leaks can make you waste huge amounts of water for no real reason. Don’t be stingy – get your pipes, faucets and couplings checked out!
- Insulate Your Water Pipes – Pipe insulation is affordable, easy to install, and will help you minimise the potential of leaks.
- Use your broom – Unless it’s muddy, the broom will do just fine for pavement and driveway cleaning
- Don’t hose your car – when cleaning your car, you’ll only need running water for the rinsing part. A mop and a couple of sponges can handle the rest just fine!
- Collect Rainwater for your garden – if you’ve got a garden to take care of, consider investing in a rainwater barrel or water but.
- Position Sprinklers Carefully – when installing sprinklers, make sure to spread them out optimally and avoid overlaps
- Don’t water when it’s windy outside – try your best to avoid watering your garden on windy days, as the wind will usually mess with the sprinklers, and you’ll end up wasting water. However, you should remember to stay hydrated!
At the end of the day, it’s up to us as individuals, to take the appropriate action. Both at home and in the office, we should all aim to reduce our water consumption and work towards preserving our environment.
Were you aware of the severity of the situation? Have you tried reducing your water consumption before? How did it go? Do you think that there are some other water-saving tricks that I missed?
Leave your thoughts, ideas and experiences in the comments below – I’d love to see your feedback on the matter!