Saturday 20 July 2024
22.9 C

Severn Trent issue water saving advice ahead of heatwave

The current heatwave combined with a very dry spring, means that reservoir levels are lower than we would like them to be at this time of year.

It can take 12 hours to treat and pump water out to our customers, so when people are using more water to do things like water their gardens or fill paddling pools, the challenge can be to get that clean, treated water out to homes quick enough – this can sometimes cause low pressure problems.

Our teams are working around the clock, using tankers to pump an extra 300 million litres of water into the network to keep water flowing during increased demand.

What you can do to help

To keep wonderful water flowing to our communities during the heatwave, it’s important that everyone continues to be mindful of their non-essential water use, so you and your neighbours have plenty of water for all the essentials.Top hot weather tips:

  • Keep hydrated
  • Have a shower rather than a bath to save water – Taking 30 seconds off your shower will save 5 litres!
  • Use a bucket and sponge rather than a hose to clean your car
  • Look for leaking loos and get them fixed
  • Turn off taps when not in use
  • When it’s time to empty the paddling pool use the water to water your plants
  • Water plants in the evening with a watering can – it’ll be more effective as less water will evaporate
  • Don’t worry about watering the grass – it’ll soon bounce back when it rains!

Use a watering can instead of a hose or sprinkler

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A hose and sprinkler can use about 1000 litres an hour, equivalent to the same amount of water one person would normally use in a whole week.

Using a watering can reduce water usage significantly, and help you become more aware of the amount of water you use.

Be sure to water the base of your plants and not waste your effort or water spraying all the foliage as well. Most of this water simply evaporates.

Install a water butt to harvest rainwater

Harvesting rainwater reduces water use from your taps and is actually better for your plants.

It can also help reduce pressure on drains during periods of intense rain.

If you don’t have space for a water butt, you can improve the water holding capacity of your soil by adding organic materials such as homemade compost or well-rotted manure, so when it does rain, more water stays in the soil rather than draining away.

Lawns are more resilient than you think

In extended periods of summer drought, turf grasses turn brown and stop growing.

This often looks a lot worse than it actually is, and the lawn will usually recover rapidly with rain starts to fall again. It would take a really severe drought to actually kill off the lawn.

Most lawns recover rapidly with the onset of autumn rainfall, especially if appropriate autumn lawn care is given. While you can’t prevent drought, you can take measures to prevent the damage drought causes your lawn.

Domestic waste water, known as ‘grey water’, can also be used in the garden.

Plants can be watered with shower, bath, kitchen and washing machine water (from rinse cycles), collectively referred to as ‘grey’ water.

It varies in quality and may contain some soap and detergent. Fortunately, soil and potting composts are effective at filtering them out, and the residues can sometimes act as a mild fertiliser.

When you’re washing salad or fruit, you can save the water and re-use it in the garden. You can also use this for houseplants or container plants.

Fish tank water is also great for your plants. When you’re cleaning your fish tank, the nutrients left in the water save the need to add extra fertiliser.

Showers instead of baths

Showers are more water efficient than baths, but only if used wisely.

Showers are still one of the largest users of water in the household. However, if you shaved one minute off your shower everyday, you could save money on both your water and energy bills.

Water efficient toilets and hippo bags

Toilets are the second highest domestic water-using device after showers. They account for one-fifth (22%) of the average British household’s water consumption. In a year, the average household flushes the toilet about 4,600 times. That’s about 28,000 litres of water – enough to fill 350 standard baths.

Flushing the toilet is an unavoidable fact of life, but there are still opportunities to save. Modern dual flush toilets mean light flushes can save 7,000 litres per person per year. For older toilets, water displacement devices like hippo bags can reduce the amount of water flushed by up to two litres.

Make sure you have a full load

In a house with a busy family or small children, the washing machine can be very busy.

A modern automatic washing machine uses about 50 litres of water per wash so it’s more efficient, both in terms of water and heating, to use a fully loaded washing machine (but don’t overload it!).

When the time comes to replace your washing machine, look for a machine that offers an ‘eco’ setting or has a high efficiency rating.

Dishwashers or hand-washing?

Washing the dishes – whether in a dishwasher or by hand – accounts for around 5% of domestic water use. There’s an assumption that washing up by hand can be more efficient, however a full dishwasher can be more water and energy efficient.

The average household washes dishes by hand ten times a week, but only three times in a dishwasher.

Dishwashers are becoming more energy and water efficient (and may offer savings over using the hot tap and sink). The key is to make sure your dishwasher is full before using and, if your dishwasher has one, use the eco-setting.

If you still want to wash by hand, two bowls are better than one. A separate bowl for rinsing, rather than washing off the suds under a flowing tap, considerably cuts down how much water you use.

Paddling pools

When the weather heats up, it’s fun to fill the paddling pool or get out the water-blasters. While it’s great to have fun with water, there are still ways you can stay water efficient.

Don’t fill your paddling pool to the top. You could save 30 litres of water for every inch lower the water level gets. When you’ve finished playing in the pool, covering it means you can reuse the water the next day. When it’s time to empty it, you can use the remaining water to water your garden.


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