Ask most people to guess how many litres of water they think they use a day and they will most likely come up with a relatively small number. The real answer is on average 150 litres per person, per day. The reason we don’t notice this large amount is that often water is used thoughtlessly and all too often simply wasted; for example, a dripping tap can waste as much as 5,500 litres of water a year. And it’s not just the waste of water; heating water for use in taps, baths and showers makes up around 30% of average household's gas bills – that's around £200 a year.
The Energy Saving Trust, in partnership with Waterwise, have received EU Life+ funding to pilot a water and energy advice service, the first of its kind in Europe. With 6% of the UK’s annual greenhouse gas emissions related to water use, and nearly 90% of those emissions resulting from water use in the home you can see it’s high time for householders to stop wasting water.
Since January, we have been developing our understanding of existing consumer perceptions of the connections between energy and water, and developing integrated energy and water messages. Our research tells us that consumer understanding of the impact of water, especially hot water use, is low so there will be much work to do to raise awareness in this important area. For instance, research commissioned for the pilot has established that only 8% of householders would currently make the link between saving water and saving energy
This water advice service launches today will be available for householders living in our three pilot areas of Cardiff, Edinburgh and London, and will be running until September 2010. We have developed many new tips on how to save water that will also save you energy from unnecessarily heating water. For instance, did you know that every minute you cut off your daily shower could save you between £5 and £10 off your energy bills over the year?
Other water and energy initiatives include Shower Power, an educational campaign to encourage shorter showering, which is a collaborative project with Waterwise, the Energy Saving Trust and 12 UK water companies. A shorter shower not only saves water and energy and reduces your carbon footprint, but it also saves you time, meaning you can spend longer in bed, have more time for breakfast or ensure you don’t miss your train. For more information and to enter our competition to win one of thousands of water efficient products visit www.waterwise.org.uk/showerpower
Waterwise will also be promoting joint action on water and energy through the Defra funded SHARE project – Social Housing Action on Resources and Environment. We have teamed up with Global Action Plan, water companies and social housing associations to deliver a scheme to retrofit water efficient products into homes and encourage behavioural changes. This is a first in the UK and we hope to deliver savings of up to 25%. This project is part of the Government's Greener Living Fund which is being assessed by the Energy Saving Trust.
Waterwise’s remit is to act as the main voice taking forward water efficiency and to do this we work closely with partners. If you are interested in working with us please feel free to contact us.