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  • 18 per cent increase in just 12 months in the number of UK consumers actively taking action to reduce water use
  • Savvy shoppers are reducing water use with energy efficient appliances as they seek to manage rising household bills
  • Despite this, a third of the UK isn’t able to calculate how much water it uses each day

2016 has seen an increase in consumer use of water efficient appliances, including taps, showers and washing machines, as Britain’s savvy shoppers look to safeguard their spending against rising household bills, that’s according to a report commissioned by Ideal Standard and Waterwise*.

The annual water-efficiency tracker survey from bathroom company Ideal Standard and the UK’s leading independent water efficiency organisation, Waterwise, looks at the UK’s attitudes and behaviour in all aspects of water management.

2016’s survey found that there has been an 18 per cent increase in the number of British adults actively taking action when it comes to addressing water saving, up to 88 per cent of respondents this year compared to 70 per cent in 2015. Actions include utilising water efficient appliances and taking steps to reduce wastage, for example, not leaving the tap running.

Thirty seven per cent of those surveyed said that they do not know how much water they use in a single day, suggesting that the UK does not understand where its water consumption comes from.

The results suggest that those with a water meter, who can actively see how much water they are using, are more likely to be water savvy than those paying a fixed tariff. Eighty two per cent of those with a water meter who responded to the survey actively take steps to reduce water usage and therefore save money, compared to just 30 per cent of those with a set bill.

Those that did not know how their water charges are calculated were less able to estimate how much water they use each day and were more likely to underestimate this figure.

To compile these results, Ideal Standard and Waterwise surveyed 2,016 consumers from across the UK.

Katie Cope, Marketing Director at Ideal Standard, said: “While we all know that saving water is a great way to create a more sustainable environment, it’s clear that it is the  personal finance aspect of water saving that really drives  UK consumers to consider how to reduce their water usage.  

“Almost a fifth (18 per cent) more of UK consumers are now actively taking action when it comes to cutting back on water consumption compared to this time last year – an enormous rise in just 12 months.

“This result suggests the need to effectively manage a household budget is tying in well with an increased awareness of the need to take account for how much water we all use on a daily basis.”   


Ideal Standard and Waterwise have compiled some top tips for consumers to save water easily. While many are common sense, on average more than 50 per cent of us don’t take these basic steps to reduce how much water we use and save money.

We can all help reduce waste by making small behavioural changes around the home and by choosing more water efficient products.

In the bathroom…

  • Remember to turn off the tap while brushing your teeth - a running tap wastes over 6 litres per minute.
  • Purchase a water efficient dual flush toilet, which has a split flush button which gives the user the choice of how much water to use – this will be typically 4-6 litres of water opposed to the old style flush systems which use a massive 13 litres per flush.
  • Try to avoid flushing away cotton ball or make up tissues, simply throwing them in a bin will cut down on the amount of water wasted with every flush. 
  • A bath typically uses around 80 litres, while a short shower can use as little as a third of that amount. But beware since many power-showers may actually use more than a bath.
  • Switch Low flow Aerated showerhead which reduces the amount of water used, by mixing air in with water to still give the same pressure and feel as a normal shower.
  • Don’t leave the shower running before you get in and try to keep track of the time you spend in the shower by setting a timer alarm on you mobile phone.
  • Take shallower baths: by running your bath by just an inch shorter than usual you can save on average 5 litres of water.
  • You can minimise your water use by reusing your bathwater to water your houseplants or garden.

In the kitchen…

  • Try and use a full load with a dishwasher every time. This can be helped by ensuring you buy a dishwasher with a capacity suitable for your household size.
  • Experiment with different settings on your dishwasher, many modern machines offer ‘Eco’ or ‘Economy’ setting which use less water and energy. These can even be more efficient than hand washing.
  • Try adding a washing up bowl or plug into your kitchen sink to catch excess. This can reduce water wastage by 50% and can also be used to wash your veg in, rather than leaving a tap running.
  • Adding a tap aerator can help to reduce the flow, similar to the shower.

Doing the laundry…

  • Surveys show that a typical load of washing is usually much less than the maximum capacity of the model, stuff in a few extra shirts to make the most of your loads!
  • Read the manual to find out which cycles are the most water efficient – it’s not always the shortest one.

When it comes to drinking water…

  • This is one area you should NOT cut back your usage, UK tap water is one of the best in the world. Enjoy it.
  • But, do put it in the fridge so you can have chilled water all the time - waiting for the tap to run cold can waste more than 10l of tap water a day.
  • Try to fill the kettle with only what is needed, this will save water and energy.
  • Using the lid on saucepans reduces the amount of water lost, so you don’t have to put as much in. It also helps your lovely veg cook quicker.