We think that there is plenty of water in Wales, but with the expansion of mass building projects in the SE of England, how long will it be before there is a National Grid for water? With the climate also set to become warmer and drier in summer in the UK, water restrictions will become much more common place for all of us.
At present every UK home uses a massive 150 litres of water per day, but this could be reduced to 80 litres without causing any real hardship, or compromising personal cleanliness. With compulsory water metering on the horizon this could have a large effect on our pockets.
Potential scarcity of water and cost are not the only issues here either; did you also know that Dwr Cymru is one of the largest electricity users in Wales? In 2005/6 Dwr Cymru used the equivalent of the combined electricity usage of households in Powys, Newport and Bridgend, a population of almost 400,000, in order to bring water to our taps*.
So to help you out here are a few suggestions for low- or no-cost water saving solutions for around the house. All are easy and when combined with other measures like fixing dripping taps and turning taps off when not in use can dramatically reduce water consumption.
Did you know that 40% of all household water is flushed down the toilet? There are various ways that this can be reduced without actually replacing the cistern.
- Your water supplier will send you a free water saving device to put in the bottom of the cistern, or you could equally well use a plastic bottle filled with water. This will take up space in the cistern, causing less water to be used in each flush. You may need to experiment with different bottle sizes to ensure that the flush still operates effectively.
- You can fit an Interflush® onto the siphon inside the toilet. This device means that you can regulate how much water is used for each flush by holding the handle down for as long as is required. This can save 47% on water use.
- A retrofit variable flush siphon can be fitted, again from Interflush.
- A delayed action inlet valve can be fitted. This prevents the cistern from refilling until the flush has finished. This will save approx. 2l% of a full flush.
Showers use less water than baths, unless you have a power shower (which can use more even for a 5-minute shower). Look at fitting an aerating shower head; these give the feeling of lots of water but halve the volume actually used.
Aerator heads can be retro-fitted onto existing taps, or if buying new, choose taps with spray or aerator heads.
Dishwashers and Washing Machines
Only buy water and energy efficient appliances (A-rated), and only run with a full load.
See www.waterwise.org.uk for lists of water efficient appliances
Watering the Garden
Install a water butt with rainwater diverter to collect free water. Plants prefer it. Also mulching around plants reduces water loss.
These take the ‘grey’ water from baths, washing machines etc. and recycle it for use in the toilet. They are easy to install if you are building a new house. For existing buildings there are diverters available to channel grey water into water butts for use around the garden.
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* 2005/6 Dwr Cymru electricity usage was 548 GWh (Dwr Cymru figures)
Average household electricity usage is 3,300 KWh (Energy Saving Trust)
548 GWh / 3,300 KWh = 166,060 households
Bridgend households = 53,342 with a population of 128,645
Powys households = 53,865 with a population of 126,354
Newport households = 56,535 with a population of 137,011
Combined figures = 163,742 households with a population of 392,010