When it comes to cutting the cost of your bills, water is often low on the list. After all, you can’t swap water suppliers so it’s not the easiest utility to save money on. But I’m going to show you ways to reduce water usage.
Touch wood, but it’s been several years since we last had a hosepipe ban. I remember many years, especially in the late 80’s and 90’s when we could be guaranteed a ban. And everybody seemed so surprised, especially when you think that we have so much rain in the UK.
So, time for a few uncomfortable facts you might not be aware of:
UK citizens, on average, use 150 litres of water per day. That’s right, the equivalent to 75 bottles of 2l coke. A study back in 2004 showed that residents in the South-East of England had less water per person compared to the likes of desert states such as Syria and Sudan!
The fact is, although we see a lot of rain, we are still are no good at storing it.
There are 2 big advantages to reducing water consumption. Not only will it help the environment, but it will also save you money. But how do you go about reducing your water usage?
How to reduce water usage
There are several simple ways to reduce water wastage, which will help reduce your water bill.
· When brushing your teeth, do not leave the tap running
· Take showers instead of baths
· If using a bath, consider sharing water between family members
· Do you need to flush the toilet? There is a saying… ‘If it’s brown, flush it down. If it’s yellow, let it mellow.’
· When filling a kettle, only use the amount of water needed. This will save you electricity too
· Only use the washing machine with a full load
· If you have a dishwasher, again only begin a wash when full
Some of these tips above, I know horrify people. However, whether you follow them depends on how keen you are to save water. But there are other ways to reduce consumption.
Save Water Save Money
Your next stop should be a site called Save Water Save Money. This site claims to have delivered 2.75 million water saving devices to more than 1 million customers, saving over 51 billion litres of water.
There are a range of products on the site, all created to save you water. For example, keen gardeners could buy a water butt so they could collect rainwater to feed their garden during dry spells, rather than relying on a hose. Or you could purchase water-saving gel, which reduces the amount of water plants need by up to 4 times.
Inside the home, you can find handy items such as bags which you can place in your toilet’s cistern, reducing up to 1.2l of water usage every time you flush. Or there are easy to fit shower heads which will reduce the amount of water wasted when you’re stood in that shower for hours.
Save Water Save Money also work with some water companies to provide you with water saving devices for free. All you need to do is enter your postcode and they will tell you what is available. Typically though, my water company provides nothing. Damn you South East Water!
Installing a water meter
If you’ve your water usage down as much as you can but you still feel like you’re paying too much, you could consider a water meter.
A water meter measures the exact amount of water you use and charges you accordingly. In the majority of cases, they are also free to fit. If you have a small family or you are already a conscious water user, this could cut your bills especially if you live in a large property. Before the 90’s, water bills were based on the rateable value of a home (how much it could be let for), so bigger homes meant bigger water bills.
Even if you don’t own the home, if you’re a tenant with longer than a 6-month agreement, you can ask for a meter to be fitted.
However, my thoughts on water meters aren’t particularly positive. A water meter was installed into our home when we moved, and as a family of (then) 4, we saw our bills rise. And ask yourself this. Would water companies spend money on installing meters if it meant they would see their revenues drop?
The WaterSure scheme is for people who receive benefits and need to use a lot of water – either for medical reasons or because they have a number of school-aged children. If you qualify for the WaterSure scheme, it means your water bill will be capped. You will never pay more than the averaged metered bill for your area.
Who qualifies for WaterSure?
Taken from Citizens Advice:
To qualify for WaterSure you need to:
- be on a water meter or have applied for one and be waiting for it to be installed, or be paying an assessed charge because it’s not possible to fit a meter at your property
- be on certain benefits
- have a high essential use of water.
Which benefits do you need to be on?
The benefits you need to be on depends on your supplier. You should check which benefits they cover.
All suppliers offer WaterSure if either you or someone in your household get one of the following benefits:
- Universal Credit
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income Support
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Pension Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Working Tax Credit
- Child Tax Credit awarded at a rate higher than the family element.
Some water suppliers also offer WaterSure if you’re on Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payments. You should check with your water company if you’re not sure if they cover these benefits.
If you want to apply or need to find out more, then contact your water supplier.
If you found my article on ways to reduce water usage useful, why not take a look at how to reduce your heating bill.