Brits use five times more water than they think

Published:  13 November, 2012

HULL: Consumers urged to cut back on water use as Ideal Standard highlights Britain’s most common water-wasting habits.

Key statistics:

  • People estimate that they use 29 litres of water per day – in reality the average use is 150 litres per person per day
  • Those showering let the water run for an average of 1 minute 18 seconds before getting in – 24 seconds longer than in 2011
  • The average time spent in the shower is eight minutes – this uses over 60 litres of hot water

This year’s Water Saving research campaign by bathroom manufacturer Ideal Standard out today reveals that people use an average of five times the amount of water than they realise, despite 81% of Brits expressing that they are conscious about their water usage. Even with parts of the UK spending months in drought and a hosepipe ban in the early part of the year, nearly one in 10 people (9%) believe that there is so much rain in the UK that we don’t need to save water. On top of this, half of respondents (47%) state that they have never even considered installing water saving products in their homes.

With Britons becoming more complacent towards water saving, it seems the biggest culprits are living in shared households. Over half (57%) of people living with housemates said they shower every day compared to the base national average of 39%. On the other hand, just over a third (36%) of those who live on their own, with a partner or family shower as often. As well as having showers more frequently, more than a quarter (27%) of those in shared households shower for over 13 minutes, compared with just over one in 10 (14%) who live on their own.

Tony Rheinberg, water saving expert at Ideal Standard, said: “We carry out our Water Saving research to help us understand the key factors contributing to consumers’ water wastage, and improve our campaign to help Britons’ manage their water use. Unfortunately it seems that people are still extremely misguided about how much water they use and waste daily, and hence aren’t taking the opportunities available to them to save water where they can.

"Our research shows that those living alone or with family are more conscious of their water use than those living in shared households, in all likelihood because they have more control over their household’s water usage and often pay the bills singlehandedly. Bearing in mind people are living longer in shared housing because they can’t afford to buy, it is even more important that consumers are fully educated on water saving to prevent a long-term trend towards increased water waste.”

Ideal Standard’s research reveals that that even one shower can be costly to consumers, and that water and money are wasted with over two thirds of people (39%) showering every day and one in five spending over 10 minutes in the shower. Ideal Standard’s Water Saving campaign encourages consumers to try and cut their shower time in half and install water saving devices such as thermostats to avoid the necessity for running the shower before getting in and keep water usage and costs to a minimum - there are plenty of ‘hot spots’ where people can stop wasting water in the home and from Ideal Standard’s research we have been able to identify the key areas.

Water waste ‘hot spots’ in the home:

  1. Those who shower let the water run for an average one minute 18 seconds before getting in. Stepping straight in can save almost 10 litres of water
  2. The average amount of time spent in the shower is eight minutes. Cutting that time in half to four minutes would save around 30 litres of water depending on the shower being used
  3. An old style single flush toilet can use up to 12 litres in one flush while new, more water-efficient dual-flush toilets use only six litres for a full flush and four litres with a reduced flush – saving 36-48 litres of water a day
  4. A running tap wastes five litres of water a minute, so turning the tap off while brushing your teeth is a key water saving technique
  5. Choose a shower over a bath. Even a shallow bath uses around 80 litres, while a short shower can use as little as a third of that amount.

Ideal Standard has the largest range of water saving products in the industry with 400 products on the Bathroom Manufacturer Association’s (BMA) water efficient labelling scheme. The BMA scheme is designed to help consumers identify which product is water efficient and give them the variety of choice and price ranges to suit every household’s needs. Products such as the water saving bath with a lower step-in height and installing a dual flush toilet are just small ways people can save money on their water bills long term, as well as helping the environment.

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