How to save water in daily life: 41 hot tips from the experts
According to the World Economic Forum, there will be a 4o% gap between freshwater demand and supply worldwide by 2030. So, here are 41 of the hottest tips for businesses, schools and colleges to halt the rising cost of water waste by making the right changes to their habits and assets.
From switching nozzles on hoses to recycling greywater and optimising toilet performance - everyone can do something to conserve more water every day. Here are some actionable suggestions - both big and small - from the professionals at WCS to start you off:
41 water-saving tips to implement across your real estate
1. Control the use of sprinklers and hosepipes on your grounds.
When left running, these devices can use between 500 and 1,000 litres of water an hour.
2. Fix sprinkler heads
Ensure your sprinkler heads are properly aligned and not wasting water by watering the pavement!
3. Use a rain gauge
Use a rain gauge to determine how much rain your local area is receiving. This can help you adjust your watering schedule.
4. Use a rain sensor
Install a rain sensor as part of your sprinkler system to prevent unnecessary watering.
5. Use a soaker hose
A soaker hose is a great way to water gardens and reduce water waste by delivering water directly to the roots of your plants.
6. Plant drought-tolerant plants
Reduce the need for frequent watering by selecting hardier plant varieties.
7. Shorten your grass
Keeping your lawn shorter means it will require less watering.
8. Use a water-saving hose nozzle on hoses
Change your hose nozzle to reduce water flow by up to 90%.
9. Install a drip irrigation system
A drip irrigation system delivers water directly to plant roots, reducing water waste.
10. Water deeply, not frequently
Water your lawn and plants deeply but less often to encourage deeper root growth and reduce water consumption.
11. Use a timer
Use a timer to control how long you water your lawn or garden.
12. Fit water butts to collect rainwater from your roof
Water butts usually store about 200 litres of water. As well as being better for watering your plants, it can reduce the amount of treated water you need.
13. Recycle greywater
Greywater is the wastewater generated from stuff like showering, washing dishes, or doing laundry. It can be treated and reused for landscape irrigation, toilet flushing, or other non-potable purposes. Greywater recycling systems can range from simple systems that collect and reuse greywater from a single source to more complex designs that treat and store greywater for later use.
14. Harvest rainwater
Rainwater harvesting involves capturing and storing rainwater from roofs, gutters, or other surfaces for later use. Rainwater harvesting systems can range from simple rain barrels that collect rainwater from a single downspout to more complex solutions that store rainwater in underground tanks, using pumps and filters to treat and distribute the water. In the UK, if you have 200 square feet of roof space, you could be collecting up to 37,400 gallons of water every year to use or recycle. The UK rainwater management association can tell you more.
15. Refurbish all your WCs for dual flush
Give people the option to minimise water usage.
16. Educate campus users about dual flush!
It is surprising the number of times dual flush is used incorrectly.
17. Trial low-water or no-water technology for urinals.
Right now, water-supplied urinals in the UK are thought to waste 217 billion litres of water each year collectively. Waterless urinals are becoming popular, but make sure you take into account reduced water usage in your system if you install them. You may need to cut out redundant pipework or reduce water tank size or capacity in order to optimise their performance.
18. Install a cistern displacement device in every toilet’s holding tank
The device is placed in the cistern to displace around 1 litre of water every time you flush. They are very easy to install and can achieve savings of up to 5000 litres per year (depending on the extent of your lavatory use). Even better, they are available for free from many water companies.
19. Use composting toilets
A composting toilet uses little to no water and turns waste into fertiliser that can be spread on your land or even sold on! Corporations take note, this may well be the future. After all, where there's muck, there's brass. Here's a great article from Inside Science magazine about the future of sifting poo.
20. Promote the 3 P rule
Only poo, pee, and paper down the toilet. Avoid flushing away cotton wool balls, make-up tissues or disposable nappies. Simply throwing them in a bin will cut down on the amount of water wasted with every flush and protect our sewers.
21. Ensure water systems are only live when they need to be
If you run a venue with intermittent use, such as a conference venue or a sports stadium…are your toilets automatically flushing on days when there is no one present?
22. Don’t install baths in new and refurbished buildings unless necessary
23. Switch showerheads where you can
The average showerhead uses 12 litres of water per minute, with power showers using around 15 litres. Given that the average shower is around 10 minutes long, that’s up to 150 litres of water per session!
24. Aerated showerheads can reduce water flow - without compromising pressure. They maintain the pressure by mixing in air with water to produce a steady, even spray. Low-flow shower heads can reduce the amount of water used to around 6 litres per minute while giving you the feel of a standard shower.
25. Check that pipes are insulated or have trace heating to ensure a burst pipe won’t waste water
26. Implement monitoring and targeting software on key meters to measure and report on water usage volume accurately.
27. Use water monitoring software more generally to monitor system leaks and water loss across your real estate
28. Help users and FM easily report water leakage, such as dripping taps, broken cisterns etc. Make it simple to report a problem to your FM team by email, QR code or text.
29. Ensure equipment users are educated about economical water use
If you’ve got new dishwashers, washing machines, or any other water-using gadget, make sure users know how to use them responsibly. And make sure someone reads the instructions!
30. Work with building occupants to promote water savings
For example, ensure occupants are turning the tap off when brushing teeth, etc
31. Run annual water awareness events to raise water conservation issues.
32. Promote the 5-minute shower challenge
Did you know a five-minute shower uses about 40 litres of water, which is almost half the volume of a standard bath? Educating your buildings' occupants about the impact of their behaviour can often 'nudge' them to do the right thing.
33. Fit tap flow restrictors where suitable
But take into account your water risk assessment
34. Review catering and laundry practices to reduce unnecessary water consumption. Ensure you only run full dishwasher and washing machine loads.
35. Buy the right-size laundry and dishwashing equipment for your needs.
36. Use the plug in your sinks to wash/peel vegetables
37. Install automatic taps, but you may need to consider your stored water volume
38. Check the setting on percussion taps
These can easily become stuck and leak or not shut off when they should do.
39. Check radiator systems for leaks and make sure the quick fill is disconnected. As well as being more friendly to your water system - if you are constantly ‘topping up,’ you may not notice a leak.
40. Understand which assets produce “waste” water you could reuse
Think about filtration systems for swimming pools, can the water and the energy used for heating the water be recycled?
41. Check that cycles of concentration in your cooling towers and boilers are optimised
This could save you water, as well as excessive energy and chemical usage.
So there you have it. 41 tips that you can apply to your process and assets to prevent waste, consume water more responsibly and save money whilst you’re doing it.
Have you got any tips for saving water, money, and the planet at the same time? What's worked for you and what shifts in behaviour have you inspired in your organisation? Share your insights below and we can start changing water habits - one drop at a time!
Topics: Wastewater Treatment
Written by Jon Greaves
Jon has progressively worked through operational roles, account management, technical management, and senior management roles over the last 16 years within one of the group companies before moving into the role of Water and Air Managing Director. Jon has experience across multiple sectors of water and air compliance, including district energy networks; data centres; healthcare; food and beverage and facilities management. Jon acted as a corresponding steering committee member on CIBSE CP1 – Heat Networks Code of Practice for the UK released in 2020.