Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink

10 tips for conserving water during the shortage

With widespread flooding following the thaw after the ‘Beast from the East’ held Britain in its grip, you might be forgiven for wondering why there is a water shortage, and householders in London and the South East are being urged to be sparing with their water.

Well, the simple answer, as we at Harpers can confirm after a fortnight of frantic activity, is that burst water pipes and a surge in leaks has left tens of thousands without water or with very low water pressure.  We ourselves have attended plenty of local emergencies brought on by the severe weather, and although our local water board hasn’t imposed rationing – yet – frugal use of water will go a long way to help them maintain supplies.

That aside, using water responsibly is environmentally friendly and, if you have a water meter installed, will save you money.  With that in mind, here are our ten tips for conserving water:

  1. Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth– this can save 6 litres of water per minute.
  2. Place a cistern displacement device in your toilet cisternto reduce the volume of water used in each flush. Harpers can fit one for you.
  3. Take a shorter shower. Showers can use anything between 6 and 45 litres per minute. Consider getting an aerated shower head, which combines water and air, or inserting a regulator in your shower, which puts an upper limit on flow rates. Ask us for details.
  4. Always use full loads in your washing machine and dishwasher– this cuts out unnecessary washes in between.
  5. Fix a dripping tap. A dripping tap can waste 15 litres of water a day, or 5,500 litres of water a year. Well, you know who to come to for that!
  6. Install a water butt to your drainpipe and use it to water your plants, clean your car and wash your windows. A water butt can collect around 5,000 litres a year.
  7. Water your garden with a watering canrather than a hosepipe. A hosepipe can use as much as 1,000 litres of water an hour. Mulching your plants (with bark chippings, heavy compost or straw) and watering in the early morning and late afternoon will reduce evaporation and also save water.
  8. Fill a jug with tap water and place this in your fridge. This will mean you do not have to leave the cold tap running for the water to run cold before you fill your glass.
  9. Install a water meter. When you’re paying your utility provider for exactly how much water you use, laid out in an itemised bill, there’s an incentive to waste less of the stuff.
  10. Invest in water-efficient goods when you need to replace household products. You can now get water-efficient showerheads, taps, toilets, washing machines, dishwashers and many other water-saving products. Again, Harpers will be happy to advise and supply.