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Water Saving Week 2023

Posted by Callum Vallance-Poole

As Water Saving Week approaches, it presents a valuable opportunity to think about our water usage practices and initiate meaningful transformations. Taking place from 15th to 19th May, this annual event seeks to foster awareness about the significance of conserving water while inspiring individuals, families, and communities to take proactive steps to help. Within this blog post, we will delve into the daily themes of Water Saving Week and provide practical suggestions that align with our shared goal of saving water in our daily routines.

The first theme revolves around the crucial relationship between water usage and financial savings. With a focus on households becoming more mindful of their water and energy consumption, this theme is particularly relevant given the current cost of living crisis in the UK. Consider this: heating water for showers, baths, and general washing alone makes up approximately 17% of a gas-heated household’s energy bill. Remarkably, by reducing hot water usage, not only can we conserve water but also make significant savings on our energy expenses. To put it into perspective, simply stepping out of the shower a minute earlier can save a remarkable 2,500 litres of water annually, equating to potential savings of up to £128. By adopting habits such as shorter showers or turning off the tap while brushing your teeth, you can effectively reduce water consumption and save money.

The second theme of this year’s Water Saving Week focuses on the connection between water and the environment. This theme aims to shed light on how environmental factors influence both the quality, quantity and availability of water resources. With climate change altering weather patterns and increasing the likelihood of prolonged dry periods, our water supplies are at risk. Alarming as it may be, 15 out of the 23 water companies in England are already facing significant water stress due to these climate-related challenges. The combination of increased demand and reduced rainfall has put immense pressure on water resources, further exacerbating issues such as declining groundwater quality and diminished replenishment rates. By adopting a conscientious approach to water consumption, we can play our part in minimising our impact on the climate, reducing water wastage, and safeguarding the well-being of aquatic ecosystems and habitats. Practical measures, such as promptly fixing leaks, installing water-efficient fixtures, and exploring alternatives like rainwater harvesting and greywater recycling, are crucial steps towards combatting these challenges.

The third theme of Water Saving Week centres around the essential role water plays in our everyday lives. Its purpose is to raise awareness about our daily water consumption habits. Surprisingly, the average person in the UK now uses 145 litres of water per day, representing a staggering 70% increase compared to 1985. This increase is a result of more household water-consuming appliances, evolving social norms around health and hygiene, increased industrial production, and the rise in car ownership. These factors have substantially influenced our daily water usage patterns. By adopting simple practices like reducing shower duration to 4 minutes and ensuring that washing machines operate with full loads, we have the potential to save significant volumes of water every single day. Embracing mindfulness about our water usage and making small adjustments can collectively contribute to reducing our overall consumption.

The fourth theme of this year’s Water Saving Week focuses on the concept of embedded water, highlighting the critical role of water in our food supply chain and clothing manufacturing. It’s essential to recognise that without water, our tables would be bare, and our wardrobes empty. Our water consumption extends beyond what we might typically consider, and it directly correlates with our dietary choices. For instance, producing 1 kg of beef requires a staggering 15,400 litres of water, while 1 kg of chicken meat necessitates 4,300 litres. In contrast, plant-based foods have significantly lower water requirements, with 1 kg of potatoes utilising 287 litres, 1 kg of tomatoes consuming 214 litres, and 1 kg of bananas using 790 litres. Our clothing habits also contribute to the water-intensive industry. Every minute, Brits purchase over two tonnes of clothing, and the production of a single cotton t-shirt and a pair of jeans alone requires a staggering 20,000 litres of water. By consciously reducing water-intensive food consumption and actively avoiding fast fashion, we can significantly reduce our water footprint.

The fifth and final theme revolves around the vital connection between water and hygiene. Water serves as a cornerstone for our daily hygiene practices and is integral to the functioning of essential institutions like hospitals, schools, and workplaces. As the climate undergoes changes and populations continue to grow, it becomes increasingly critical to conserve water to ensure a stable water supply for the future. Notably, flushing toilets and personal washing contribute to over 60% of water usage within homes. Upgrading to a dual-flush toilet presents a substantial opportunity for conservation, potentially saving 12,500 litres per person annually, equivalent to 150 average-sized baths. Dual-flush toilets typically use 4-6 litres of water per flush, a significant improvement compared to older flush systems that consume a staggering 13 litres. Leaving a tap running needlessly can also waste approximately 6 litres of water per minute. Embracing simple actions such as turning off the tap while brushing your teeth and washing your hands can go a long way towards reducing water waste and preserving this valuable resource.

Water Saving Week presents us with a valuable opportunity to reflect on our water consumption habits and embark on a journey towards a more sustainable future. By embracing the daily themes and incorporating simple changes into our lives, we have the power to make a significant impact. Whether our focus is on reducing energy bills, mitigating the environmental impacts of climate change, or preserving precious water resources for generations to come, every action counts. Let’s take shorter showers, promptly fix leaks, upgrade to water-efficient fixtures, mindfully choose our food and clothing purchases, and adopt responsible water usage practices in our daily routines. Together, we can foster a society that prioritises water conservation and cherishes this invaluable resource. Join us in celebrating Water Saving Week, and let’s collectively make a lasting difference for our planet and future generations.