Reducing water usage

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Green & Ethical MoneySaving
20 replies 1.3K views
pinnkspinnks Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Green & Ethical MoneySaving
I thought I would kick off a thread to see if there is interest in discussing ways to save water. After all, every drop that comes out of the tap has to be collected, cleaned and piped to enable that to happen and that involves chemicals and electricity etc. A significant amount of what comes out of the tap has to be disposed of through a piped network involving the use of resources. So, the less we use the more we help the planet.

We are already very water-efficient, using about 40m3 per year for two people in a household but that is 40,000 Litres, or 110 L per day. Wow, that is a lot of water! Where does it all go?

Recently I popped our numbers into a "can you benefit from a water meter" calculator and it suggested that based on my honest input we could reduce our use with a water meter to 102m3 per year - I was so tempted:rotfl::rotfl::rotfl:

I think our latest bill suggests we use only about 40% of the average for a 2 person household, so maybe the above was just based on expectations.

We have been metered since 1999 and peaked, with 2 children added into the mix at 152m3 per year. We were then on a generally downward trend but when we finally disposed of the last child (to uni I hasten to add) we had reached about 80m3 per year. Since then, as with other utilities, we have been actively trying to reduce waste - 650m3 water butt, full loads for washing/dishwashing, even more careful about running taps, fixing drips/leaks, new water-saving toilets and so on. 2019 was our best year at 39m3.

So, I'll just throw that out there and see what others are doing in this space...:beer:
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Replies

  • CoastalwatchCoastalwatch Forumite
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    Afraid we can't compete with your efficiency, so congratulate your achievements with reducing water usage. Looking back at the three years since we moved in here we've gone from 73m3 to 62m3 so not in your league. I suspect to improve on this we should need to undertake some system mods to make use of grey water for flushing loos etc!
    East coast, lat 51.97. 8.26kw SSE, 23° pitch + 0.59kw WSW vertical. Nissan Leaf plus Zappi charger and 2 x ASHP's. Still waiting for V2H and home storage to become available at sensible cost.
  • tacpot12tacpot12 Forumite
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    I live in a property that doesn't have a water meter. While I am keen to save water, my partner is not, and there are many other issues that are more pressing with the house, such as energy efficiency. These other issues are costing us money, so nothing is particularly going to happen about saving water in the near future in our household.

    If I had the funds to do so, I would harvest our rainwater and use this to flush the toilets.
    The comments I post are my personal opinion. While I try to check everything is correct before posting, I can and do make mistakes, so always try to check official information sources before relying on my posts.
  • pinnkspinnks Forumite
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    Perhaps we were exceptionally heavy users way back when but my guess is that the toilets (just part of general maintenance rather than efficiency) and replacement washing machine and dishwasher (aimed mainly at energy efficiency rather than water efficiency) are the biggest contributors but as with most efficiency issues you don't just replace to reduce...
    Wiltshire - 5.25kWp
    3.5kWp: 14 x Phono Solar 250 Onyx, Sunny Boy 4000TL, WSW 40 degrees, June 2013
    1.75kWp: 7 x Phono Solar 250 Onyx, Sunny Boy 1600TL, SSE 45 degrees, March 2014
  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    Hiya, you beat us, we (two adults and a few four legged additions) consume about 50m3 pa, split 50:50 across the two 6 month meter reads (if that's of interest). When we got metered about 15yrs ago we were at around 70-80m3, but some water butts for summer pot watering, and a policy of 'if it's yellow, let it mellow' for toilet flushing seems to have worked.

    Fun bit, is that the two neighbours who both told us we were mad when we opted for a meter have also now changed over in the last 2 or 3 years. They use a tad more water than us, but have still halved their bills down to about £300pa.
    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

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  • EricMearsEricMears Forumite
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    The biggest single use of water in a house is flushing WCs; apparently that's generally around one third of all the water used and there's absolutely no need for that to be treated to drinking water standards.

    When designing our house, I built in rainwater collection & storage so that I could flush WCs with rainwater. I don't measure that very accurately but reckon that our two person household uses around 100 litres per day for that which equates to approx 36 cu metres per year. We do have a water meter for the rest of the household requirements and my last half-yearly bill showed that we used 24 cu metres i.e 48 cu metres /year.

    If I was really bothered about saving even more (and water bills are only approx £100 a year at moment) I could no doubt install a filtration plant so that I could run the washing machine on rainwater too but rather doubt that saving would be worthwhile
    NE Derbyshire.
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  • edited 6 January 2020 at 1:05PM
    pile-o-stonepile-o-stone Forumite
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    edited 6 January 2020 at 1:05PM
    We've used 87m3 of water over the last 6 months according to our latest bill. We do have 5 adults though. I'm really thinking that a rainwater harvesting system would be cost effective. I've read online (also on here I think) that they don't have a great ROI, but maybe for high users they could be?
    5.18 kWp PV systems (3.68 E/W & 1.5 E).
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  • EricMearsEricMears Forumite
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    We've used 87m3 of water over the last 6 months according to our latest bill. We do have 5 adults though. I'm really thinking that a rainwater harvesting system would be cost effective. I've read online (also on here I think) that they don't have a great ROI, but maybe for high users they could be?
    Even with my figures, my cash savings are rather less than £100/year so to get anything approaching a useful ROI, I'd have had to spend less than £1000 on the equipment. In my particular case, most of the components were free and the rest very low cost - I doubt I actually spent more than £100 on the project so probably paid for it in the first year or two.

    A commercial rainwater harvesting setup usually costs several thousand pounds or more so probably wouldn't offer much of a ROI.

    However, it's not all about money - I feel very strongly that it's wasteful to treat all water supplies to drinking water standards (though appreciate that having two independent water networks would be even dearer than any savings by not treating one of them) and took action to overcome that.

    For most people on metered water, savings would be better than mine in that costs of 'normal' sewage disposal are also based on the incoming meter readings and I believe sewage disposal costs are usually more than water supply costs. (We have a septic tank so don't pay for disposal).
    NE Derbyshire.
    4kWp S Facing 17.5deg slope (dormer roof).
    BEV : Nissan Leaf e+
  • pile-o-stonepile-o-stone Forumite
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    Looking at the bill for the 6 months, we are charged £167 for water and £110 for waste water removal, for 87M3 of water.

    If we reduce our usage by a third then we would save 29M3 of water or £92. Multiply that by 2 for the year and we have £185 saving per annum.

    A rainwater harvesting system installed at £2k would take 10 years to pay back.

    I guess our money would be better spent on reducing use and cheaper rainwater collection using barrels attached to the downpipes for use on the garden.
    5.18 kWp PV systems (3.68 E/W & 1.5 E).
    Solar iBoost+ to two immersion heaters on 300L thermal store.
    Vegan household with 100% composted food waste
    Mini orchard planted and vegetable allotment created.
  • ChrisK....._3ChrisK....._3 Forumite
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    We have NOT been meters since 1984, specifically so we don't have to think about leaving the loo full of pee until someone wants a number 2. We don't waste water but could not bear to live like that.
    pinnks wrote: »
    .....

    .......We have been metered since 1999 and peaked....
    If I ruled the world.......
  • ASavvyBuyerASavvyBuyer Forumite
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    When we moved here I connected up one of our toilets to some water butts (400litres) for flushing the loo.

    In total, we now have water butts holding up to 2,500 litres of water, that can be used to top up the loo water butts.

    The other loo is still on mains water, but only gets used if we run out of collected rainwater or if we need to use both loos at the same time.

    Our ducks also need fresh water each day so it also helps if the stream running through the garden dries up.

    Usual mains water usage is less than 2m3 per month (24m3/year).

    The only times it goes up is if we have no rain for over a month (but that has only happened twice in 5 years as we live in Wales!)
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