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riverMany areas in the UK are experiencing water shortages due to drier than usual winters, longer periods of hotter weather this summer and poorly maintained water pipes and infrastructure. This has resulted in many areas having a hosepipe ban, which means we cannot use hoses for watering gardens, cleaning cars, patios etc., and, in some areas this has now been extended to a drought order which restricts the use of water for non-essential use such as filling swimming pools, watering golf courses etc.

With this in mind I thought I would feature some simple ways we can all save water - this may also be useful for anyone on metered water.


  • Take a shower rather than a bath.

  • Collect rain water for use in the garden.

  • Don’t run the tap whilst cleaning your teeth.

  • Only boil as much water as you need when making drinks etc.

  • Don’t leave taps (faucets) dripping - repair any worn washers.

  • Only wash full loads in washing machines and dishwashers.

  • If you have a dehumidifier or air conditioning unit which collects the water this can be used to water houseplants as can water from defrosting a fridge or freezer. This is distilled water.

  • Water remaining after boiling eggs can be cooled and used to water plants as this is high in nutrients as is the dirty water taken from a fish tank.

  • If you drink tap water and normally run the tap for a while to ensure the water is cold, collect this initial supply either in your kettle or to water plants etc., Alternatively, instead of waiting for it to run cold keep a jug of water in the fridge.
  • Wash vegetables in a bowl rather than under a running tap.

  • Don’t over-water your lawn as this encourages the roots to find the surface and can weaken growth. Sprinklers are wasteful as they use as much water in one hour as a family of four uses in one day.

  • Fit a water saving device in your toilet cistern or replace with a modern one as these use less water for each flush.


Unless we all heed the warnings we could end up like this.




Combination boilers often need to run a lot of cold water before the hot comes through, as it has to run from the site of the boiler through to the tap, which may necessitate going first through a radiator and longish pipe according to the distance from one and the other. Therefore, every time I turn on the tap, I either fill my watering can with the cold, or spare bottles of water to use during the day for kettles, etc. You could fill saucepans, too. It is amazing how much could run away before the required hot comes through.

Audrey M. Wood

This is not just a UK problem;  you may like to check out the infographic called 'Water by Numbers' from bushmantanks.com.au which highlights some interesting facts with regard to water consumption in Australia and easy ways in which water could be saved.

My family likes to save water since we live on a well and have experienced several sizzling summers where some of our neighbor's wells have dried up. In addition to your list for saving water, I have 2 suggestions:

1. We use the laundry rinse water to flush our toilets. This is a bit more manual, but I'm sure we've saved thousands of gallons.

2. We collect the shower water that is run before the shower gets warm enough to get in. This water is dumped in the washing machine tub. We also collect the condensation water from our A/C and use that in the washing machine too. I know we've saved thousands of gallons using these methods too.

Rik Carey




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