Five fab water-saving gadgets
By Rachel England Friday 29 March 2013
Here in the UK you'd be forgiven for thinking that our abundant supply of rain means we’re okay water-wise, but you’d be wrong. Despite 2012 being one of the wettest years on record, the country still saw long periods of drought-like conditions, with disgruntled homeowners hit with hosepipe bans and water companies struggling to meet household demands.
And what a demand it is! The average person in England and Wales uses 150 litres of water a day, mostly for washing and toilet flushing, and thanks to power showers and water-hungry household appliances, we use almost 50% more water than we did 25 years ago.
Using so much water doesn't just put a strain on water works, either. Water usage in UK homes pumps around 35 million tonnes of greenhouse gases into the environment each year, thanks to the energy required in cleaning, sanitising and processing, not to mention heating it up for showers and cuppas!
So it’s important we’re careful with this vital resource. The government’s water strategy for England – Future Water – outlines a vision where everyone cuts down their water use by 20 litres a day. With these nifty gadgets, that’d be a piece of cake! And better yet, most water companies provide these kinds of gadgets to their customers for free. Check out your water provider’s website to see what they offer.
Showersave is a simple device that fits between your shower head and hose, and could save an average household 30 litres of water a day, and up to £42 on their energy bills every year! It works by using ‘flow regulator technology’, keeping the flow of water through your shower at a constant 7.6 litre per minute thereby reducing the amount of water and energy wasted every time you shower. (NB: Not suitable for use with electric showers).
Talk to your water company, or get one here for £4.99
Did you know that water can flow out of a household tap at a mighty 18 litres per minute? That’s a lot of wasted water while you brush your teeth or wash your hands! These smart little devices help to reduce the flow rate to just five litres a minute, and because they cause the water to aerate, you won’t even notice any difference in pressure. The average household could save around 30 litres a day using these – enough for 120 cups of tea!
Talk to your water company, or get a kit here for £8.99
Flushing the toilet is one of the biggest water wasting activities in the world – think about it, you’re literally flushing water down the toilet! Of course, we’re not suggesting you forgo the flush (eew); instead, try a Save-a-Flush device. These bags contain biodegradable polymers which swell on contact with water, so simply pop it in your cistern and it will displace a litre of water every time you flush. And, brilliantly, when it’s time to replace it you can empty the contents of the bag onto your garden, as the polymer will aid water retention in the soil. Bonus!
Talk to your water company, or get one here for £3
Hand pump pressure washer
One of the most versatile household products on the market, this nifty 11 litre hand pump can be used for almost anything; cleaning windows, watering the garden, cleaning pram wheels – you can even clean an entire four-door saloon car with just one fill-up. This means no electricity and no hoses, which are notorious for guzzling water supplies. Plus, with an adjustable pressure spray system you can use exactly as much water as you need, without wastage.
Get one here for £29.99
We all love our gardens, but what sense is there in feeding shrubs and plants quality drinking water from the tap? Instead, make use of the average 8,500 litres of rainwater your roof collects each year with a water butt – if every house in the UK did we could collectively save around 30 million litres of water each summer!
Prices range from as little as £15. Check out this selection and see if there is one that’s right for you.