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20th April 2018
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Bathtime decline, but showering Brits are still a nation of water-wasters
A new report by the UK's authority on water efficiency, Waterwise, has found that despite more of us than ever making a conscious effort to save water, Britain unconsciously remains a nation of 'water wasters'.
The 2016 Water Saving Report, which was commissioned by British bathroom manufacturer Ideal Standard, aims to observe water-usage habits in UK households in order to monitor water efficiency behaviours.
It found that whilst 86% of people don't know how much water they use each day, 70% of respondents answered 'yes' when asked if they personally take actions to try and save water.
However, when asked to estimate, just one in 10 people (14%) correctly estimated their average daily consumption figure of approximately 150 litres. Over 40% thought it was less than 100 litres.
As age increases, the likelihood of respondents taking action to save water increases, with 60% of the 18-24 age category answering yes they consciously take action to save water, compared to 76% of the over-65 age category.
The most frequent reason given for not taking action to save water was 'I only use the water I need' with 51% of respondents giving this reason, despite admitting that they don't know how much they use, or waste.
The top actions taken by conscious water-saving Brits were found to be turning the tap off when brushing teeth and waiting for a full load before using the washing machine - as well as taking more showers than baths.
The average Brit now showers 25 times per month and takes fewer than two baths per week. We also flush the toilet on average 6.4 times per day.
The main sources of water usage in the home come from appliances such as clothes washing machines and dishwashers and in the bathroom, via showers, baths and toilets.
The report identified that the use of water-efficient washing machines (33%) and toilets (32%) are on the increase and are the water saving devices owned by the highest percentage of people.
Some 63% of people also say they take showers now instead of a bath, to save water - with a further 14% of Brits saying they happily share or re-use bath water.
However, despite becoming a nation of showerers, nearly three quarters (73%) of people leave showers running for an average of one minute 41 seconds before getting in - wasting up to 60 litres of water before every shower.
When comparing shower frequency with gender, over half of both male and female respondents shower between five and nine times a week (54% and 55% respectively) with average shower duration differing by just a few seconds - therefore busting the myth that women spend more time in the shower than men!
The Water Saving Report also found a correlation between those who have shorter shower duration (on average three minutes 40 seconds) and have a water meter at their home.
This compares to those who don't have a water meter, whose average showering time more than doubles to (eight minutes 4 seconds).
On average one in 10 Brits (12%) now have a bath more than five times per week.
Jacob Tompkins OBE, managing director of Waterwise, says: "Climate change means the UK will see more floods and more droughts in the near future. Using water efficiently is a simple way to both adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change and it is something we can all do in our own homes today. The Government needs to focus efforts in this area."
Waterwise is a UK NGO and is the leading authority on water efficiency. Established in 2005, it works with water companies, governments, regulators, corporations, charity and local community groups, to promote water efficiency. It covers all areas of water efficiency from technical analysis to public engagement.
Tony Rheinberg, Water Saving Expert at British bathroom manufacturer, Ideal Standard, says: "It's a huge positive that people are trying to save water, with the top actions including turning off taps when brushing teeth and only running a full load in washing machines - both of these behaviours have been promoted for over two decades, which indicates that prolonged promotion can lead to societal behavioural change.
"The results do however show that in general there is a lack of understanding of water use and water wastage, indicating we need to do more to educate people around their water consumption habits, as well as the water saving technology available to them in the home, especially in the bathroom."
Ideal Standard is committed to water efficiency and has recognised the need to develop more water efficient products. It has introduced a number of innovative solutions, including a selection of WCs offering four litres of water for a long flush and 2.6 litres of water for a short flush.
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8th April 2016