Your guide to natural and organic living

Think about: water usage at home

March 29, 2012


We’ve had a beautiful start to 2012 – only a few weeks of winter weather at the beginning of the year followed by milder temperatures much hotter than average. This coupled with two mild and dry Winters means we’ve not had as much rainfall as we need.

The South East of England was officially declared in drought this month and a hosepipe ban will be effective from the 5th April. I’m all for the hose pipeban but feel this will only achieve so much. We need to be reducing the amount of water we use in our homes aswell.

Here are a few quick tips on how to reduce water usage at home:

Reuse water from washing your vegetables

Washing vegetables

We collect all the water used from washing our vegetables in an old washing up bowl and reuse it on the garden. This means we barely use any clean mains water to water the garden with. If you end up with more water than you can use, bottle it and put it in the fridge for a few days.

Reduce your flushes

The average capacity of a toilet cistern in the UK is 6 litres (if your cistern was installed after 1991) – so every time you flush the toilet you are using 6 litres of clean water. Multiply that by the number of times it’s flushed in a day and that can add up to a lot of water.


One option is to use a water saving saving device such as a Hippo Water Saver which reduces flush volume of your cistern by up to 3 litres.

“A Hippo is simply a Polyethylene unit that opens to look like a box, which sits neatly in the cistern of your toilet and saves you water and money every time you flush the toilet. It will also help to reduce your carbon footprint. A Hippo is made from durable heavy gauge polyethylene and printed using human grade food dyes, meaning they are safe to touch and produce no harmful dust particles during transportation, installation or daily use.”

Push button and dual flushes cannot use this device.

Selective Flushing

This won’t be for everyone but consider flushing your toilet less (if it’s yellow let it mellow). Some people reading this will be screaming out in horror that it’ll make your toilet smelly and it’s unhygienic, but if it’s cleaned regularly this isn’t the case.

You don’t have to leave it a whole day between flushes. If you flushed every other time you would be halving the amount of water used for flushing your toilet every day.

Not showering /bathing every day

Photo by Mike Warren

Most of us sit at desks every day and therefore never really get truly filthy! This means we probably don’t need to take quite as many long hot soapy showers as we do – I’m not saying for a minute we all need to stop washing. If this happened we’d look like a nation of extras from Stig of the Dump!

Try showering every other day with a strip wash in-between (it’s not as bad as it sounds). My Grandparents use to do this as they grew up in the days where they the kids shared a bath tub and had regular strip washes over the sink.

For anyone who has no idea what a strip wash is: Fill up your sink with warm soapy water, stand on a towel, grab a flannel and have a wash. You’d be surprised how clean you feel afterwards.

Get a waterbutt

Buy a waterbutt and place it under a drain pipe. If you don’t have room under a drain pipe you can use the waterbutt to store water saved from your house.

Reuse cooking water

If you’ve boiled or steamed vegetables, save the cooking water and use it to make vegetable stock.

Do you have any tips for saving water at home?

Read the Environment Agency’s guide to saving water in the home and garden ยป

Image source: Bath – mikewarren on Flickr.

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