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Water facts

Did You Know?

The average personal treated mains drinking water usage in England and Wales is 150 litres a day - rainwater could be used for nearly half of this. For a household of 4 people this equates to savings of 275 litres a day or 100 cu.m. a year.

At work, an employee uses between 25 and 40 litres/day, depending on whether there is a canteen with a kitchen or not.

  • The demand for water has been growing by 1% per year for the past 75 years - on average, you use 150 litres of water a day.
  • 30% of treated mains water is used to flush toilets - a properly installed rainwater collection system could save all this water.
  • In offices, schools and other commerical (non-residential) premises, this figure can rise to 80% of mains treated water.
  • The roof on a 'typical' four bed family home captures more than 100,000 litres (100 cu.m) of rainwater a year.
  • Many commercial premises have much greater roof areas so rainwater capture can be much greater.
  • A typical family uses 70,000 litres year on toilet flushing, clothes washing, and outside use.
  • Even a regulated flush uses 5 litres of water, its easy to multiply that by the numbers in an office and average use.
  • Consider the flow rate before taking a shower - a 10 litre/min power shower for 15 minutes will use 150 litres water, equivalent to 2 baths. Shower flow rates vary from 1.5 l/min (ultra low) to 12+ l/min (power shower). A typical 5 l/min domestic shower for 5 minutes is the same as one third of a bath.
  • A leaky tap in the office toilets or canteen kitchen can waste 60 litres an hour (5mm stream) or nearly half your daily usage.
  • That leaky tap could be costing your business around £10 a week in wasted mains water (based on a charge of £1 per 1000 litres).
  • Fix leaking water using equipment quickly and encourage staff to report leaks.
  • Approx 20% of UK domestic water is used for bathing and showering.
  • Don't think of water use and disposal charges as fixed costs. Many companies can save up to 50% of their water costs through implementing simple and inexpensive water minimistaion measures.
  • Washing machines use approximately 14% of domestic water. In the last 25 years, their water requirements per load have reduced by approximately two thirds.
  • Dishwashers are more water efficient and effective than hand washing.
  • In the UK, the proportion of water used for gardening can approach 50% during the driest months.
  • At work, water minimising controls, e.g. push taps, flow regulator/restrictors, cistern displacement devices, spray nozzles on hoses, low flush toilets and sensor urinal flushing controls can save significant amounts of water in the toilets, vehicle yard and canteen kitchen.
  • If you use steam for heating or processes, insulate steam pipes well and check for leaks. Condensates waste around £6 per 1000 litres and steam costs around £21 per tonne (1000 litres water).
  • There is less water for each person in the UK than most European and some Middle Eastern countries. 
  • Water is scarce in many parts of the UK – but demand for water is growing steadily at a rate of 1% per year.
  • 38 litres of water are needed to refine 1 litre of petrol.
  • Enough rainwater falls in the UK to more than meet the needs of everyone.
  • Rainwater Harvesting is already common in Europe – about 100,000 systems were installed during 2005/2006.
  • If half of the 60 million plus people living in the UK saved rainwater (e.g. half of all dwellings fitted with rainwater harvesting systems), this would save over 750 million cu.m. of treated mains water a year.
Save Rainwater

Find out how to fit a simple rainwater harvesting system that could save you up to half your water bills.

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Save the Rain™ leaflet and poster (PDF 1 MB)