Wras shines a light on UK ignorance over water use

One-in-four people in the UK admit they had no idea how much water they use at home and just 6% would consult a plumber for water-saving advice, according to new research commissioned by water standards body Wras.

Despite more than half of UK homes now having a water meter installed, the Water Regulation Advisory Scheme (Wras) found that there was still little thought given to water usage in a survey commissioned to be released this Water Saving Week.

The survey questioned 2,000 people in the UK about their water usage habits at home, finding the average UK household vastly underestimated the amount of water it uses.

The survey comes as Waterwise hosts its fifth annual Water Saving Week, teaming up with a host of partners to highlight water waste and offer tips and suggestions over social media on how to save water at home.

It found that the average UK household used 350 litres a day, but people estimated their family uses just 157 litres – an underestimation of 55%.


When it comes to bad water habits:

  • 29% don’t reuse water when cooking or preparing food;
  • 22% leave the tap running while brushing their teeth;
  • 13% are guilty of having a bath followed by a shower;
  • 10% wash their car with a hosepipe rather than a bucket.

Washing machines are one of the biggest culprits for water usage, using an estimated 50 litres per wash, with older machines using even more than this.

Eighty per cent underestimated this amount, assuming 18 litres per load on average.

When it comes to the bathroom, the survey found the average time Brits spent in the shower was seven minutes and 30 seconds, which could use up to 90 litres of water.

The average time the tap was left running while brushing teeth was 54 seconds, which could be wasting nearly 12 litres of water in the process.

Julie Spinks, Wras managing director, said: “It’s important that plumbers and other water industry professionals actively offer advice to clients on water saving.

“Although more than half (53%) of UK homes now have a water meter, research shows that people are still not giving a huge amount of thought to their water usage at home, even if it could save them money and help the environment.

“Many water companies give away water-efficiency products to customers for free, yet 47% don’t have any kind of water-saving device at home.

“Products such as toilet leak detection strips, shower timers and cistern displacement devices can save litres of valuable water, and Wras supports the use of compliant plumbing products that use technology to automatically reduce water and energy consumption, without people even noticing a difference.

“UK water regulations aim to keep our water supply safe and prevent wastage. So, during Water Saving Week, we’re keen to raise awareness of how everyone – plumbers, consumers and manufacturers – can play a part in saving water.”

WaterSafe, the central body for approved professional plumbers in the UK, used this year’s Water Saving Week to urge UK homes to check for leaky WCs and cut down on shower times in a social media campaign #watersavingweek.

A toilet leaking clean water from the cistern into the pan can waste up to 400 litres of water a day – five full bathtubs – and add around £300 a year to your water bill if left unfixed, according to WaterSafe.

The trade association, the BMA, released two videos this week to shine a light on the benefits of households choosing bathroom products that carry the Unified Water Label (UWL).

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