Save money on your water bill and help the environment too.
We are extremely fortunate in the UK to have great drinking water, in comparison to other countries.
We also seem to have an unlimited supply. Not surprising with our typical British weather!
However water is not unlimited across the world and with the way weather is changing, global warming or not, we should be mindful of how we use nature’s greatest resource.
More and more of us have water meters these days. All new build properties have water meters fitted as standard.
If you are on a water meter you have the opportunity to save money on your water bill.
And if you have a family or are not used to a metered water bill it can come as a bit of a shock when you get that first 6 month bill.
Our current house already had a water meter installed when we moved in. My initial thought was “great, we can save money here as well”.
Oh dear no, how wrong I was. Every 6 months our bill was higher than the previous, we were using more water not less! I blamed:
- DD2 for her teenager length showers
- Mr2p for leaving the water running whilst brushing his teeth
- Mr2p for his twice daily shower habit
- And so on
On the day the meter reading man came round and said he couldn’t read the meter because it was covered in water a lightbulb finally went off in my head.
Maybe we weren’t that wasteful with our water usage and maybe there was another explanation? And so it turned out, we had a slow leak that had slowly got faster.
Cue a large bill to lay a new water pipe up into the house.
Reduce your water usage
Whether you are on a water meter or not you may well want to reduce you water usage. Your use of water is something you can control, similar to your electricity usage.
If you are on a water meter and you reduce your water usage then you’ll be saving money too.
The general rule of thumb is that if you have more bedrooms than people living in the house then you could be better off on a water meter.
That is just through general use based on the typical household use in the UK.
If you choose to really focus on reducing your water usage and save money on your water bill then your savings could be even greater.
Water shortages are a reality
In 2014 California declared a drought emergency having had extremely low rainfall since 2011.
The following year the Governor imposed mandatory water restrictions of 25% in an effort to keep the water flowing due this period. It wasn’t until April 2017 that the drought was officially noted as over.
Cape Town is currently in water crisis and has imposed water restrictions twice in an effort to put off Day Zero – the day Cape Town would run out of water.
- On 3rd Sept 2017 the Mayor announced a water restriction of 87 litres per person per day
- From 1st Feb 2018 that limit was slashed to just 50 litres of water
- For comparison The UK national average daily water usage per person is 150 litres
That’s a startling difference don’t you think?
I’m not sure how Mr2p and I would reduce our usage to Cape Town levels but it is definitely food for thought.
With that 150 average/50 litre limit in mind lets look at ways you can save money on your water bill.
10 ways to save money on your water bill
If it’s yellow let it mellow!
Let’s get this one out there first as it’s the one that you are either ok with or so totally not ok with!
This is the marmite of water use.
Every time you flush you use approx 9 litres of water (unless you have a modern dual flush system).
If you let it mellow every other flush you would be saving 50% of your flushing water.
In Cape Town the suggestion is that you will flush your loo just once a day!
On average a couple might flush the loo 10 times a day. 10 x 9 litres = 90 litres of drinking quality water flushed down the loo!
If you flushed every other time you would save 45 litres of water a day.
Now every litre of water costs you a fraction of a pence but 45 litres x 365 days = 16,425 litres of water saved in one year! Worth a thought?
Did you know a running tap uses 6 litres of water a minute?
Brushing your teeth
Growing up I remember brushing my teeth with the water running. As a kid you like to dip your toothbrush in and out of the water a few times.
If you brush your teeth for the recommended 2 minutes then that’s 12 litres of water wasted each time you brush your teeth.
For 2 people that’s 48 litres a day x 365 days = 17520 litres of water wasted or saved depending on what you do.
Save water while cooking
How many of us wash and prep our vegetables under running water? I have been and still am some times, guilty of this!
But yikes 6 litres of water a minute.
I know you often wouldn’t want to not wash your veg but you can reduce your water usage. Run the tap slowly and use a pan or bowl.
Do a second rinse if you have really muddy veg (e.g. from your own garden).
Washing the dishes
These days dishwashers can be very efficient in their use of water. But even if you have a dishwasher you are bound to wash some stuff up every day.
When washing up by hand don’t do so under running water. Use a bowl and don’t fill it up.
If you have only a few things then maybe a couple of inches of water will do?
Washing your hands
Did you know there are guidelines on how to wash your hands properly? Who knew?
As you should be washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, doing so without keeping the tap running could save you 2 litres of water every time you wash your hands.
I don’t know about you but I can wash my hands multiple times a day. 2 litres x 9 times in a day x 2 people x 365 days = 13,140 litres of water saved.
Filling your glass
Hands up all of us who run the cold water tap to get ‘cold’ water on a warm, sunny day. Yep we all do it don’t we?
Instead why not keep a jug of water in the fridge to have really cold water whenever you want. Its a double win.
You get really cold water to drink and you save water by not running the tap.
Having a shower part 1
The first way you can save water is to fit a water efficient shower head. You don’t need to replace the whole shower unit, just the head. You can buy these for less than £20.
A power shower uses approx 15 litres of water A MINUTE!
Whereas a water efficient shower head uses 9 litres. That’s a potential water saving of 48 litres for an 8 minute shower.
For a teenage shower (think 25 mins) you’d save 150 litres. For. Just. One. Shower.
Having a shower part 2
Have a 4 minute shower. The average shower length is 8 minutes. Although if you have teenagers in the house its more like 25 minutes – the voice of experience speaking!
In Cape Town the expectation is a 90 second shower!
You don’t need to suddenly start rushing your morning ablutions. Just turn the shower off whilst soaping up.
Some water companies offer a free 4 minute timer. Southern Water have gone funky and suggest having a 4 minute anthem to sing/shower along to.
They have a 4 minute playlist on their Spotify account. Who knew a water company would have a spotify account?!
Boil only what you need
Boiling only the water you need is always highlighted as an energy saving tip.
But you can also save water this way, especially if you were chucking the excess water away, to make a fresh cup.
Fill your washing machine
I’ve committed this sin a few times. Not filling the washing with dirty clothes up to the recommended maximum.
Having a teenager can make this more of a problem. How many times has your teen needed a certain top 3 hours after you have done the washing?
And then proceeded to wash it on its own in the washing machine!
If you washing machine has a half load option please be aware that it doesn’t use half the water. Wait until you have a full load.
Fit a tap aerator
You can fit a tap aerator to most taps in your home, whether that’s in the kitchen or bathroom. You can buy them for a few pounds so it’s not a major investment of your money.
You should save money from the moment you start using them. Tap aerators can reduce how much you use water by 50%, or more!
That reduces your running tap from 6 litres to 3 litres a minute.
All of the calculations above are based on a running tap using 6 litres a minute. Using a tap aerator combined with the tips above will have an even bigger impact on your water bill.
Reading this back makes me realise how much we could improve our own water saving efforts. It’s not always about the money saving.
Reading the articles about Cape Town really makes you think about what you view as normal.
Even if you are not on a water meter, you can still use these tips to reduce your water consumption. You’ll gain some environmental brownie points.
On the money saving side if you can reduce your monthly bill by £10 then that is £120 a year saved. You save water helping the environment too. Double win.
Related moneysaving posts:
Reminder of the 10 top tips:
- If it’s yellow let it mellow!
- Brushing your teeth
- Save water whilst cooking
- Washing the dishes
- Washing your hands
- Filling your glass
- Having a shower parts 1 and 2
- Boil only what you need
- Fill your washing machine
- Fit a tap aerator
I intend to tackle our water bill with renewed vigor and see if I can make a difference in the next 3 months until our next bill lands.
But it won’t be just about the money, I’d like to think I am going to do my (little) bit for the environment.
How about you? Are you on a water meter? Have you got a tip on how to save money on your water bill? Are you a scrimper with your water?