Every year, the United Nations organises World Water Day in a bid to increase awareness of how many people across the planet struggle to access clean water for drinking, washing and bathing.
The effort began in 1992 and since then has helped to promote the need to reduce water waste and ensure communities in need of vital resources are given the equipment and access they need to fresh and clean water.
However, there are many things that homeowners can do to help reduce their water usage and ensure that vital resources are not being wasted, which can have a small yet significant impact on the planet.
In the kitchen
Running water is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to water wastage in the home, and the kitchen is no exception, with many ways in which to reduce consumption.
When cooking, rinse any food in a bowl of cold water rather than doing it under the tap, then use the leftover water for thirsty houseplants.
Likewise, if washing up by hand, leave any pots or pans to soak rather than scrubbing them under running water – not only will you save water, but elbow grease too.
If you prefer to use a dishwasher, then only put it on when it is full, and try to use the shortest cycle and lowest temperature setting, which can reduce electricity use as well as water waste.
When cooking, avoid using pans that are too large for the purpose - this can result in too much water being used and also take longer to boil, which can waste gas or electricity.
We’re all guilty of spending an extra five minutes in the shower to enjoy the warmth on a cold morning or to finish that epic rendition of our favourite song, but knocking just two minutes off each shower can shave £40 off your energy and water bills every year – and free up 12 hours of your time.
Baths may also be super relaxing and it’s even more tempting to fill the tub to the brim and fill with bubbles at the end of a long day, but when you consider that the average bath uses 80 litres of water compared to 62 litres of water for a shower, you may want to opt for the latter – plus it’s easier to wash your hair.
Many people’s pet peeve is running a tap while brushing teeth; if you’re guilty of doing this, bear in mind that you can save 40 litres a day by changing your habit.
If another one of your habits is flushing used tissues down the toilet, remember that toilets use around 30 per cent of a household’s water. Pop that tissue in the bin and do your bit to save the planet.
The great outdoors
Although hosepipe bans are less common than they used to be, a key reason for this is education around the sheer amount of water that they can waste.
If your garden has encountered a dry spell, use a watering can rather than a hosepipe so that water waste is minimised, and a sweeping brush instead of a jet spray of water to clear your path or driveway of leaves and other debris.
Even the time of day that you water plants can help to control water waste, with evenings and early mornings – when the sun is less potent – reducing the amount of water that evaporates and optimising how much plants and lawns can drink.
Keeping an eye on your water bill and tracking your usage on a rough basis can provide an indication about where savings can be made and whether certain compromises are worth it.
Most modern homes are fitted with a water meter, which will track how much you are using and provide a more accurate assessment of your family’s usage.
Most modern dishwashers, washing machines and showerheads are also far more efficient than their predecessors, while hosepipe heads and other garden equipment can be purchased to ensure that you’re only using the water that you need, whether inside or outside the home.
Find out how to lower your gas and electricity costs, as well as your water usage, with our Energy Saving Guide.