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How can you be water wise? Simple actions can make big differences

Inside your home


Healthy teeth healthy rivers: Remember to turn off the tap while brushing your teeth - a running tap wastes over 6 litres per minute. If the entire adult population of England and Wales remembered to do this, we could save 180 mega litres a day-enough to supply nearly 500,000 homes.

Drop a hippo in your cistern:
About a quarter of all the clean, drinkable water we use in our homes is flushed down a toilet. If you're in the market for a new loo, consider buying a water efficient toilet or one with a dual flush. If your loo is still as good as new, put a hippo or other displacement device into the cistern to save some water. Give your water company a ring; they can give you one of these devices for free.

Stop those drips:
A dripping tap wastes at least 5,500 litres of water a year: that's enough water wasted to fill a paddling pool every week for the whole summer. Mending your dripping tap washer could save you over £18 a year.

Fill up those dishwashers:
According to a University of Bonn study, you're likely using more water (and energy) washing up by hand than using a modern efficient dishwasher. Even if you're using a washing-up bowl. But make sure you fill the dishwasher or you'll be wasting even more than if you were to wash up by hand. And if you're in the market for a new dishwasher, have a look at our rankings to help you buy a water efficient model.


Bathers beware: A bath typically uses around 80 litres, while a short shower can use as little as a third of that amount. But beware since many power-showers may actually use more than a bath. You can minimise your water use by reusing your bathwater to water your houseplants or garden.


Short, sharp, showers save water: By using a shower timer you can increase your awareness of the amount of time you spend in the shower. Try taking shorter showers to reduce the amount of water you use.

Wishy-washy machines:
Before starting your washing machine, wait for a full load - a full load uses less water than two half loads; so, you'll be able to save money on energy and water. If you are looking to buy a new washing machines we've helped you make your choice by ranking all machines available on the UK market by water efficiency.

Frigid water:
Fill a jug with tap water and leave it to cool in your fridge. This way you don't have to run the tap for ages just to get a cold drink.

Burst pipe preparedness:
Check out where your main stop valve is and make sure that you can turn it on and off. If ever a pipe bursts, you'll know how to cut off the flow.

Sparkling asparagus:
By washing your fruits and veg in a bowl rather than under a running tap, you could cut down on water waste effortlessly. And as an added bonus, you can use the leftover water to feed your houseplants.

Rubbish for rubbish bins:
Try to avoid flushing away cotton balls, make-up tissues, and those pesky spiders-throwing them in the bin will cut down on the amount of water that is wasted by every flush.

Outside your home


Be sprinkler savvy: We all love our gardens, but sprinklers can use as much as 1,000 litres of water per hour - that's more than a family of four can use in a whole day. Using your sprinkler early in the morning or late in the evening will mean less water will evaporate from your garden and more will get to the roots, where you actually want it to go.

You can with a watering can: Your hosepipe can spew as much as 18 litres of water a minute. By using a watering can in your garden you can significantly reduce the amount of water wasted; or consider fitting it with a trigger gun to control the flow (although during a hosepipe ban you will need to use a watering can).


Invest in a butt: Your roof collects about 85,000 litres of rain each year which then just runs straight into the sewers. This could fill 450 water butts with free water: you could water your garden, your houseplants, or wash your car for free! To get a butt, call your local water company.


The bucket and sponge approach: Rather than washing your car with a running hosepipe, try using a bucket and sponge instead. (fill the bucket up with water from the water butt to save even more water). Just 30 minutes with a hosepipe will use more water than the average family uses in a day. And, using a bucket will give your car a much more precise wash. Better still, use a waterless spray for washing your car - this uses no water at all!


Magnificent mulch: Mulching is one of the greatest things you can do for your garden. Mulches such as pebbles, gravel, cocoa shell, chipped bark, and grass clippings should be applied as a five to eight centimetre layer; but do avoid mulching too close to plant stems as this can lead to rotting in winter. Mulching will not only keep away water-loving weeds, but it will also keep the soil cool, decrease evaporation, and reduce soil compaction.


Soak, don't sprinkle: Giving your plants' roots a good soaking once or twice a week in dry weather is much better than lightly watering them every day because most of that water just evaporates away. Do remember, though, that new plantlings do need regular watering until they are established.