Help | saving water
Frequently asked questions
Why should I save water?
Keeps your water bills affordable
If you are on a water meter you only pay for the water you use. Using less water helps keep your bills down.
Heating water in homes for cooking, washing and cleaning costs you money in energy bills and produces 5% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Lower charges for everyone
Using less water means we don't need to treat and pump so much water. When we spend less on energy, chemicals and additional reservoirs or boreholes, these savings get passed onto you.
Using less water reduces the amount that has to be treated as waste. Water that goes straight down the drain without being properly used is a waste and is costly to you, the environment and us.
Protects the environment
Taking less water out of the ground, rivers and reservoirs is better for wildlife and the environment.
Helps secure water supplies for the future
Reducing the amount of water you waste now will help secure supplies for your family in the future.
Reduce the chances of water restrictions
Such as hosepipe bans during a drought.
How does saving water help the environment?
Reducing the amount of energy used in the pumping of water reduces our carbon emissions, which contributes to greenhouse gases, and leads to climate change.
Less chemicals used in the treatment of water and wastewater means there is less energy and materials used in their production, and less by products to contend with.
Reducing waste in your home or business means that we reduce the amount of water that has to be treated or that uses energy unnecessarily. Water that goes straight down the drain without being properly used is a waste and is costly to you, the environment and us.
How can I claim my free water efficiency devices?
Select the devices you want - and they will be sent to you free of charge.
How can I save water in the bathroom?
It’s easy to save water when bathing by remembering:
- On average baths use more water than showers. A full bath uses around 80 litres of water.
- Check the temperature as you fill so you don’t need to add water at the end.
Power showers use almost twice as much water as gravity-fed showers.
Keeping showers to four minutes or less will ensure you don’t let excessive water run to waste. To help you keep track use a shower timer.
Fix an aerating showerhead.
Gravity-fed showers: 4 minutes in a gravity-fed shower uses about 35 litres of water.
Power showers: 4 minutes in a power shower uses about 70 litres.
Around a quarter of the water we use in the home is used to flush the toilet. How much water your toilet uses will depend on the size of the cistern.
Most modern toilets have a dual flush toilet cistern and these are water efficient.
If your toilet is older, you can reduce the amount of water used by fitting a Hippo or Save-a-Flush device. These are simple devices which reduce the capacity of the toilet cistern therefore using less water for each flush. You can request a free Hippo or Save-a-flush device.
When replacing a toilet look for low flush or dual-flush models.
- Leaky loos are one of the most common causes of unexpectedly high water use but aren’t easy to spot as the water just dribbles away down the pan, so they often go unnoticed.
- A single leaky loo can waste up to 400 litres of water a day – the equivalent of five full bathtubs.
How to spot a leaky loo
If you can hear water flowing when the toilet has not been flushed, or if you can see a constant trickle at the back of the toilet pan, you may have a leaky loo.
Wait until 30 minutes after the last flush then wipe the back of the pan dry with toilet tissue.
Place a new, dry sheet of toilet tissue across the back of the pan. Leave it in place for up to three hours without using the toilet. (This may be best to do overnight.)
If the paper is wet or torn in the morning, you have a leaky loo.
If you do have a leak and need a plumber call an approved plumber.
Remember to turn off the tap while brushing. This could save up to six litres of water a minute.
Fix dripping taps
A dripping tap can waste enough water in a day to fill a bath.
Replace tap washers when they become worn.
Washing and shaving
Put the plug in
Remembering to put the plug in your wash basin can save around two litres of water each time you wash or have a shave.
How can I save water in the kitchen?
Wait until you have a full load before using your dishwasher or washing machine.
If you swill off the dishes before you put them in the dishwasher this will add to the total water you use.
When buying new machines choose water efficient models. You may also save on energy costs, as they are likely to be more energy efficient.
Use a bowl when washing up instead of a running tap. You can save about five litres of water per wash in this way.
Wait until you have enough dirty dishes to fill your bowl.
Wash and prepare food in a bowl rather than under a running tap. This water can then be recycled for use in the garden.
Waste disposal units
Waste disposal units use a lot of water to wash away food waste. You can make better use of this waste, and save lots of water at the same time, by putting your fruit and vegetable peelings on a compost heap.
Running a tap until the water is cold wastes about four litres each time. Keep a jug of water in the fridge or collect this water and use it for something else, such as houseplants, or garden watering.
Only fill the kettle with the water you need, ensuring the element is fully covered.
Fix dripping taps
A dripping tap can waste enough water in a day to fill a bath
Replace tap washers when they become worn.
How can I be more water efficient in the garden?
Never water in the heat of the day - most will evaporate and if it’s sunny you run the risk of scorching your plants. It’s better to water in the evening or early morning.
Make a little dam of earth around each plant to make sure the water goes directly to the roots.
Long, slow drinks in the first few weeks encourage roots to grow down and will produce plants that can look after themselves in hot weather.
Only water plants that need it. Some plants, even root vegetables, will survive on very little water. Potatoes and broad beans only need water when they are filling out, however, lettuces, tomatoes and marrows will need water throughout the season.
If possible avoid using sprinklers and hosepipes.
If you do use a hosepipe, ensure it is fitted with a trigger nozzle that will stop the flow of water when you release it.
Consider using an irrigation system that will deliver water directly to your plants.
Reduce the number of pots and hanging baskets, as these all need frequent watering.
Instead use larger pots and make sure they are well mulched and contain water retentive crystals.
Place a container underneath to capture any excess water.
Choice of plants
Grow suitable drought tolerant plants as these need little watering.
Edible perennials, such as rhubarb, asparagus, artichokes and green leafy vegetables are also more resilient to weather changes.
Look out for grey leaved plants such as lavender, sages or those with fat leaves that can store water, such as sedums, as these are more tolerant to dry conditions.
Maintaining your garden will ensure water is not wasted on dead, diseased or damaged plants.
Dead-head flowering plants to encourage new growth and remove any rotten or dead wood.
The Chelsea Chop (so called because it is done around the time of the flower show at the end of May) involves cutting back by half plants such as phlox, chrysanthemums, asters, rudbeckia, echinacea and helenium to reduce transpiration and encourage them to make bushier plants.
Pull weeds out when the shoots first appear, before they compete with your plants for precious water.
Did you know?
Brown tips - can indicate a lack of water.
Black leaves or roots - indicate too much water.
Should I water my lawn?
Unless you totally drench the lawn, watering encourages the roots to come to the surface making it less tolerant to dry conditions.
In dry spells raise the blades on your mower so that the lawn is left longer and cut the grass less frequently.
Aerating the lawn will allow moisture to seep down to the roots.
Which plants are drought tolerant?
Drought tolerant trees and shrubs
Buddleia – Butterfly bush
Hebe (small leaved)
Drought tolerant annuals
Drought tolerant climbers
Drought tolerant bedding and patio plants
Drought tolerant perennials
Drought tolerant alpines
Does using compost help save water?
All kinds of garden waste can also be used, but avoid recycling diseased plants or weeds in this way.
Composters can be purchased cheaply from outlets such as DIY stores and garden centres.
How does a water butt help save money?
A water butt can help you stockpile rainwater for summertime gardening. As well as helping you to save money on your bill, rainwater is also better for plants than tap water.
Water butts can be purchased cheaply from outlets such as DIY stores and garden centres.
How can I wash my car and save water?
If you need to use a hosepipe, ensure it is fitted with a trigger nozzle that will stop the flow of water when it is released.
What is rainwater harvesting?
It is a well-known fact that much of the water we use does not need to be of drinking water quality.
Studies have shown that 55% of domestic treated water could be substituted for rainwater.
In simple terms, rainwater harvesting systems are designed to capture and store rainwater that falls onto roofs.
It is then passed through a filter to remove leaves and other debris, before being stored in an underground tank.
The water can be used with or without the addition of a header tank for a variety of non-potable water uses including flushing the toilet, washing vehicles and gardening.
Typically, rainwater harvesting systems are more suited for new-build properties, where the cost of plumbing them in is negligible.
Retrofitting them into an existing property can be expensive because of the amount of internal plumbing work required.
The British Standard for rainwater harvesting, BS8515 provides criteria for rainwater harvesting equipment manufactured in the UK.
What is grey water?
consumption by more than a third.
The use of grey water technologies in our homes is still in its infancy. This is because the cost of fitting such systems is high and there are concerns the quality of the water may pose a health risk.
While grey water from baths, showers and basins is usually clean enough for flushing toilets, bacteria can soon build up when nutrient rich waste water is left untreated for a period of time. To prevent bacteria levels from building up, it is advisable to only have a small storage tank, which in turn can cause problems for providing a reliable supply during periods of low rainfall.
Grey water recycling systems can now be purchased from many outlets such as DIY stores.
Larger grey water systems that supply more than one property tend to use more sophisticated "biological" treatment methods. This works in a similar way to the processes used at sewerage treatment works. Small-scale systems tend to use "physical" treatment methods which rely on a basic filtration process. They tend to require the use of chemicals similar to bleach to stop the growth of bacteria while the water is in storage. Some systems use a combination of the two giving a "bio-mechanical" process.
All installations must comply with the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999 and the Building Regulations (parts G & H).
These are the cookies required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website, making use of e-billing services.
They allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works, for example, by ensuring that users are finding what they are looking for easily.
They are used to recognise you when you return to our website. This enables us to personalise our content for you, greet you by name and remember your preferences (for example, your customer reference number or choice of language).