Water - We all need it, we can’t live without it, and yet we are using more and more of it. It’s a precious resource and yet many of us use it as if it was free and available in unlimited quantities. It’s not! Although we appear to have plenty of rain in Guernsey, our water resources are constantly under pressure.
We use 70% more water today than we did 40 years ago, mainly due to our change in lifestyle. Population growth also puts a strain on supplies, and with the unknown effects of climate change we must ensure that we use water as sensibly as possible. By way of an example, we each use an average of nearly 140 litres of water a day in our homes, whilst our great grandparents managed with about 18 litres.
The good news is that there are many simple things you can do at home, at work, and in the school to reduce your consumption of water. As well as helping to secure our water supply both for ourselves and for future generations, you also benefit in many other ways. By cutting down on your water use you can:
Reduce the possibility of water shortages and summer water rationing
Reduce emissions of greenhouse gases which are responsible for global warming
Reduce the amount of energy and chemicals used in the treatment and pumping of water
Reduce damage to wildlife habitats in wetlands
Reduce the fall in groundwater levels, thereby reducing stress on woodlands
Guernsey Water has put together information sheets giving helpful tips on how to save water. These can be downloaded by clicking on the titles below.
In 2011 Guernsey Water carried out a 'Water Wise Survey' to gain information on customers' water usage habits, and to promote simple measures which could save customers money by reducing their water usage.
A full analysis of the survey can be found here.
The Water Wise action sheet which shows the methods of reducing water usage, and saving money, can be found here.
Guernsey Water has also created a 'Saving Water Sticker' which features the message 'Water is precious - please do not waste it' translated into a number of different languages. If you would like some of these stickers, please contact us.
There are a number of cheap and simple to use water saving devices on the market. These devices, if properly used, can save water, energy and money. Here are a few examples of these devices:
Water Meter - Data shows that customers on water meters use around 12 - 15% less water than those who are not metered. In addition to this, being on a water meter will reward those customers who try and save water, which will also result in lower bills. Guernsey Water can fit you a water meter for free - see Water Meters for more details.
Water Hippo - This simple bag-like device fits in the water cistern of your toilet, and is filled with water causing it to expand and displace volume in the tank. This means that every time you flush the toilet, less water is used. Hippos are very cheap and easy to install, although they are only suitable on toilets that were manufactured pre-2001. Visit www.hippo-the-watersaver.co.uk for more details.
Dual Flush - Dual flushing systems give you the option to utilise a smaller volume flush instead of the full volume flush all the time, thus saving water. These systems cost more than a water hippo, but also give excellent potential for savings. Most modern toilets are fitted with a dual flush system anyway, but they can also be retro-fitted to existing systems - any bathroom stockists should be able to do this.
Shower Timer - This can be very useful in limiting the amount of time you spend in the shower. A shower can use a lot of water, particularly in the case of power showers, so by spending less time showering you can save lots of water. Plenty of online companies sell specific shower timers, but you could always use a normal timer or stopwatch with an audible alarm. It is recommended that showers are reduced to 4 - 5 minutes as this tends to be much shorter than the average time that most people spend in the shower.
Aerator Taps/Showerheads - These tap/showerheads pump air into the water flow, which reduces the amount of water used. They are available from most bathroom stockists.
Water Butts - A water butt can be positioned to catch run-off from the roof of a property, and this harvested water can be used for watering your garden, potentially saving lots of water. They are available from DIY and garden centres. Alternatively, you could simply use a clean dustbin or another watertight storage unit to collect the water. Water collected in a water butt should not be used inside the house.
Guernsey Water has put together a Water Management Plan guidance pack for businesses and schools, which will allow people to make a few small changes to their water usage and enjoy much cheaper bills!
A Water Management Plan (WMP) simply identifies a number of ways in which the water efficiency of a business or school can be improved by thinking about water usage and reducing waste. Saving water is a virtuous cycle - by reducing water usage, people pay less for their water bills, and they also use less energy to heat the water. Guernsey Water will not have to treat so much water which will obviously reduce the amount of energy we use, and reduce our carbon footprint.
The great thing about these plans is that they consist of very simple steps and small changes. When you add these small changes up though, the cumulative reductions and savings can be significant.
Some of these actions can be incredibly simple - fixing new washers to leaking taps could save hundreds of litres of water for the cost of a few pounds. Making sure that dishwashers are fully loaded rather than half-filled will also save water and the energy used to heat that water. Further simple initiatives outside the building can make big differences too. Fitting a water butt to collect rainwater from the roof and then using this for watering grassy areas or cleaning pathways can save hundreds of litres of water.