If you look at the earth from out in space, you’ll see that most of our planet is covered in water. 97% Of this water is salt water. And only 3% of this water is freshwater. Most of that freshwater is frozen or unusable. Only 1% of the world’s water is available to be used to turn into clean drinking water.
You might be surprised to hear about the amount of effort that is needed to produce the water that we drink. In the production process of clean drinking water, 9 litres of water is used to make 1 litre of drinking water.
In many well-developed countries this water is not only used for drinking, but also to fill the bath, have a shower or flush the toilets.
How much water do we use?
In our daily life on average, we use circa 100-130 litres of water each day.
- Fill a bath: 150-300 litres
- Have a shower: 50-100 litres
- Dishwasher cycle: 20-40 litres
- Washing dishes by hand: 25-60 litres
- Washing machine cycle: 40-80 litres
- Flush the toilet: 10 -15 litres
Worldwide there is still an enormous number of people (more than 1 billion), that does not have access to clean and safe drinking water.
Our “water footprint” is a lot bigger than this though. The way products we use and consume are manufactured also have an effect on our water footprint. For example, it takes 10,000 litres of water to get a kilo of cotton to grow, which is used to make our clothes.
How can you do your bit? Save Water At Your Home
There are a lot of small tips and tricks that will help you lower your water usage in the house but also outside in the garden. We will give a few examples.
1. Take shower instead of bath
Have a quick shower instead of a long bath. A bath takes more than twice the amount of water. By keeping the length of time, you spend under the shower as short as necessary, you can limit the amount of water you use. Also by using an electric shower (which is already water efficient) or eco shower heads and taps, you can lower the flow of water even more.
2. Install a dual flush toilet system
By installing a dual flush toilet system, you give yourself the option to choose which one you need to use. The half flush only uses 6 litres instead of 15 litres.
3. Invest in a dishwasher
Use your dishwasher. Washing dishes by hand uses more water than a dishwasher. And only switch on your dishwasher when it is full. It might be very tempting to switch the dishwasher on every evening before you go to bed, but often this will only be half full or maybe even less. Be patient and wait till it is full.
4. Collect your unused cold water
When you switch on the warm water tap, it often takes a while for the water to come out. The cold water that will come out first can be collected and used, for example, for watering the plants, boiling your vegetables or boil the kettle.
5. Fix your plumbing
When you notice a dripping tap or toilet, get it repaired as quickly as possible. This can easily waste more than 16,000 – 20,000 litres of water a year. Keep your eyes and ears out for that little drip. Most repairs only take only a few minutes and can make a real difference to your water usage.
6. Collect the rainwater
Especially for keen gardeners, it can be a challenge to supply a good amount of water to our plants, bushes, flowers, vegetables and fruit trees. Even in a rainy and wet climate like ours, there still occasionally is a hose pipe ban. It is important to adhere to these restrictions when in place. But our gardens still need regular watering.
Rainwater has nutrition in it, that tap water cannot supply. Our gardens absolutely prefer being watered with rainwater. And in general, it is readily available in Great Britain. All we need to do is prepare to be able to collect and store it. So we suggest having tanks, tubs and buckets at the ready to collect the inevitable raindrops that at some point will be cast upon us. Often in large quantities.
Tanks are available in many sizes and colours. They can blend in with the environment. Or they can be dug into the ground so not to be in sight at all. It is important to make sure the gutters of your roofs lead into these tanks, so they can catch all the rainwater that comes off your roofs.
7. Use bucket instead of hose
Wash your car with a bucket. And preferably, if possible, on the lawn. You will use a lot less water by using a bucket rather than a hose. And by doing this on the lawn, you kill 2 birds with 1 stone. The lawn can enjoy the water coming off the car. Take into consideration though which cleaning product you use. Nowadays there are plenty of biological cleaners available that will not harm your lawn and surrounding plants at all.
As you can see, there is plenty you can do to help keep your water footprint as small as possible.