Use this guide to find essential information about water efficiency and reducing your water use.
Knowing how much water you're using can be difficult. Here's few handy tips on how to reduce your water use both in your home and in the garden.
For more information about some of the terms we use, click on the highlighted words or see our water glossary. For more information on water rates, see our Price of water guide.
- What is water efficiency?
- Why is saving water important?
- Can cutting my water use save me money?
- How can I reduce my water use at home?
- How can I reduce my water use in the garden?
- What water saving gadgets are there?
- Where can I get further information on reducing my water use?
What is water efficiency?
Water efficiency means thinking about the way you use water, in other words, your water management. The key is to try to reduce your water use where possible and not waste water you do use.
Why is saving water important?
Water is an important resource and wasting it could mean big shortages in the future. In the UK, the average person uses about 150 litres each day, but we could easily reduce our water use by about one-third without too many changes to our lifestyles.
As the effects of climate change are becoming clear, it is even more important to look at our water use and see how we could save water. The Government and water companies are also responsible for reducing the UK's overall water use and cutting down on water wastage.
Can cutting my water use save me money?
Yes. With good water management you can save money because you are using less water and this means you will be using less energy . If you reduce your water use by, for example, having shorter showers you will be using less energy to heat the water.
If you think you could save money on your water bill, you may want to consider having a water meter installed.
How can I reduce my water use at home?
- turn off the tap when cleaning your teeth and rinse your mouth with water from a beaker - this will instantly reduce your water use
- fit spray taps on the sinks - these taps are easy to fit and really reduce your water use
- have fewer baths and reuse your bathwater on your garden or house plants
- have shorter showers and turn the hot water down slightly - this reduces your water use and your energy use
- wash on a full load when using your washing machine and dishwasher and you'll cut your water use by doing fewer loads (when you replace your machine, go for an energy efficient model)
- using the toilet: use a water displacement device to cut the water use of flushing your toilet, or get a new dual-flush or low-flush toilet (throw tissues and cotton wool in the bin - not down the toilet)
- mend dripping taps and make sure you know where your stopcock is in case of a water leak from a burst pipe
- don't overfill the kettle - only use as much water as you need when you're making tea or coffee
How can I reduce my water use in the garden?
Collect rainwater to use for your garden plants - this will cut your water use from the mains. You can also use rainwater for your washing machine and dishwasher, using a special tank and pump.
Plan your garden - you can create a low-water-use garden by choosing particular plants and using tree bark and gravel. Ask your local garden centre for advice.
Don't over-water your garden and never leave a hose running. This reduces your water use and keeps your plants healthy.
What water saving gadgets are there?
A water meter calculates your household water use - some people can save money by switching to a water meter. Find out more about water meters
A water displacement device , also known as a hippo or save-a-flush, goes in your toilet cistern and reduces the water used each time you flush. Most water suppliers will provide them free.
A shower timer can encourage you to spend a bit less time in the shower which will reduce your water use.
A water butt collects rainwater for you to use on the garden and in your appliances, reducing your mains water use.
Where can I get further information on reducing my water use?
For further advice on managing your water use more efficiently:
- contact waterwise
- speak to your local water supplier
- see the Environment Agency website
- see the Energy Saving Trust website
The rateable value (RV) of your home is a figure that was set in 1990 to work out council tax bands and was roughly based on rental value. It is still used in England and Wales to calculate water rates.
A rainwater soakaway is an underground pit filled with gravel that stores water that runs off the roof and gradually disperses it into the soil - rather than into a public sewer.
Surface water drainage
Water, including rainwater, that drains from the property into a public sewer. The charge for this is included in the sewerage element of your water bill.
A domestic water meter is a device that measures how much water your household uses.
Water displacement device
Also known as a hippo or save-a-flush, this goes into your toiler cistern to reduce the water used when you flush.