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.
You may also like: How To Keep Your House Warm and Your Energy Bills Low This Winter
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 realize 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 green points.
Read these 50 frugal habits that are also eco friendly and see how many green stars you can award yourself
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 money saving posts:
How To Go Green When You Live A Thrifty Lifestyle
How To Save Electricity Doing Absolutely Nothing
55 Easy Ways To Save Money In The Kitchen
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?
Come and follow me on Pinterest for more money saving hints and frugal tips!
Last Updated on 6th March 2021 by Emma
16 thoughts on “10 Ways To Save Money On Your Water Bill”
I’m lucky enough to live in Scotland where we pay for water in our Council Tax and there’s no metering. That said I still try to conserve where I can. I never knew about aerators so thank you for that tip!
Hi Susan, thanks for stopping by!
I didn’t realise Scotland had a different system for paying for your water. I wonder whether metering will come in at some point in the next few years? Here in England the water companies have been given the ability to roll out water meters so eventually everyone will have one whether they like it or not. However not heard of anyone having one fitted that didn’t want one yet.
Aerators are great and simple enough to fit, even I could manage it!
This reminds me of a post I just shared on the forum. Growing up, my parents were so concerned with the water bill they used rainwater to water their garden!
The global water shortage/crisis is fascinating. Fortunately, our family lives in the U.S. so water isn’t as much of a concern. I have followed the shortage in South Africa with a strange fascination. Did you know that there are places in India that haven’t seen rain in years? The NY Times has written several pieces on it over the years. Also, did you know that Mexico City was built on a lake? And that it not only is nearly out of water, but it is also sinking?
Thanks for stopping by!
I’ve read about the water shortages in India previously but it’s easy to forget what that can be like. Mexico City sounds like a contradiction in terms! I first read about the Cape town water shortage last year and the idea of the government limiting your water use was a new one on me. The 50l limited really ramps it up though doesn’t it?
I can relate to most of what your parents did as mine were similar although I don’t remember water saving, perhaps because back then we didn’t have water meters, just a standing charge regardless of consumption.
Great tips – I intend to get the whole family using these! I was shocked how much water we waste. One thing my dad used to do is collect rainwater from his roof into a butt. He used that to water the garden instead of a hosepipe. (Quite hard work actually lol- kept him fit!). Keep up the good work!
Helen (we’ve chatted on FB group)
I forgot about water butts! We’ve used/use water butts in the garden. And you’re right it is hard work, I tend to leave it to Mr2p.
Lovely to see you on my blog. Great to see yours up and running and making your voice heard – me too!
“If it’s yellow let it mellow”
When I run a shower, the first couple of mins of water is cold before the hot water kicks in, which just gets wasted. I collect this cold water in a washing up bowl and use it to flush the toilet when it’s ‘mellow’. (I of course don’t do this when I have guests in the house!)
My water bill halved just by switching to a meter and that was before I started doing stuff like not leaving taps running, etc.
As my toilet is pre 2000, I’ve also got one of those things which reduces the amount of water flushed by taking up some space in the cistern so it fills up with less water.
You might find some watersaving ideas/devices here: https://www.savewatersavemoney.co.uk/
Yes, we don’t inflict the yellow rule on guests either!
No cold water wasted in my showers as I start with cold! Best way to wake up fast and feel energised. From April onwards I rarely use hot at all. My way of hardening my frugal core initially and now it’s a habit I can’t break – I hate the showers at swimming pools now as you can’t get cold water.
Thank you for that link, I shall have a peruse, I am always on the look out for more ideas.
I was just thinking about my water usage the other day…it used to be around $6/ mon but mysteriously when a new company started doing the billing the cost went up… Energy and water are probably where i’m most efficient… i generally only ever need to have one light on if anything at all… i have a studio with a wall of windows…
That is indeed somewhat coincidental. A wall of windows sounds lush! We are south facing which means, to me, free central heating in spring and autumn and keeping curtains closed all day in the summer to try and keep the room cool. I try not to complain but being British it’s in our pysche! Had to invoke the curtain closing routine these week due to our mini 2 day heat wave. I will not complain.
I don’t often wash the dishes by hand, but the few times I do, I only have a few items to wash. So just using a bucket (I actually use a cooking pot) definitely saves water – and it’s quicker, too!
I love the idea of using your cooking pot to wash dishes. Sounds like you’ve really got the water and time efficiency sorted!
Thanks for stopping by!
Thanks for these, Capetonian here 🙂
We’ve had wonderful winter rains so now we can shower without too much guilt.
Some tips from when we had 50 litres a day.
1. The difference between Grey vs black water,
Grey is from your washing machine, shower etc and can be reused.
This is what got used to flush the loo( do not use drinking water to flush a loo) and water gardens.
Black is sewerage or very greasy dishwater, that has to go straight down the drain.
2. Reuse your water at least twice. You can reuse washing water if you have a twintub or top loader.
First load is lightly soiled, that rinse water becomes your wash water for your next load and so on.
Save washing machine water for the loo/ garden. Rigged up the machine to drain into a huge 200l bin.
3. What’s a bath, seriously short showers made a huge difference. Switch off while soaping and keep it really short and of course shower standing in a basin to catch all the water, that gets used to flush the loo.
4. Save rainwater. Get a water tank, if you have a house and a garden you need a water tank fitted to your gutters to save all your rain water. Used for the garden, washing machine and loos.
5. Let it mellow.
This became so normal people applied the rule even with guests 🙂
While our drought is over for now, we live in an arid country and with climate change water scarcity is a reality. Water is a resource we should never take for granted. Hope these tips of how we survived a crisis can help someone else
Hi June! Thank you so much for sharing your experience of living through a drought. I’d heard of grey water but not black. In times of drought I can see why it makes sense to have them both, waste not, want not. I’m with you on the short, sharp (cold for me) shower – baths take too much time and waay too much water. Thanks for stopping by!
Hi Emma, two more water tips to add to your superb list if I have cooked anything in water when I come to strain the water off I take the saucepan outside and put the water on any weeds even on the pavement.
All water from my sink I take outside and water my garden plants (not if it’s greasy or hot, lukewarm is acceptable) as a keen gardener I look to see which plants really need it. Soapy water also kills green/blackfly.
Hi Annie. Those are great tips! I try to remember to water the plants with sink water but hadn’t thought to use the boiling water to kill a few errant weeds! Love it. Thanks for stopping by!