Fresh water is the foundation for life. It is a precious and scarce resource, which in our British climate we often take for granted – although we know that our climate is changing.
Business School Green Impact Team member Amy Fraser shares advice on how we can save water.
A drop in the ocean
Did you know that 97% of the earth’s water is too salty to drink, and another 2% is locked away in ice caps, glaciers and underground? That leaves less than 1% for drinking, agriculture, industry, and nature. Only 0.007% of fresh water is safe for human consumption, according to the World Health Organisation, due to pollution or contamination.
This miniscule amount is shared by more than 7 billion people on the planet. With the population ever growing this resource is becoming even more strained and unfairly distributed. Our current water use is not sustainable.
Be water wise
Across the world innovative technologies are being tested to enhance the quality and more efficient uses of water. What can we do to reduce our individual consumption?
If you try to think of all the ways you use water within your average day, you may only think of the water you drink, use for your shower, or use to water you plants with. However, the average household in the UK uses an enormous 349 litres of water each day.
Water is in everything we use, eat and buy. For example, it takes:
- 10 litres of water to make a piece of paper
- 45 litres of water an hour to power appliances in your home
- 10,000 litres of water to make one pair of jeans
- 3000 litres of water to make a beef burger
- 600 litres of water to make a 2 litre bottle of cola
- 177,297 litres of water to make a car
Reducing consumption can be easier than we think. It is just important to be aware of your water usage and make some very simple changes where possible.
Ways to save water
Here are some simple ideas that could help you reduce your water usage and save you money:
- Buy second hand, this could be clothes, cars, furniture – anything! The less products being produced means less water is needed to produce them
- Shave 1 minute of your shower time, if every household in the UK took just one minute off one shower every day, it would save £215 million in energy bills a year nationwide.
- Reduce your meat consumption. Meat production requires an enormous amount of water, for example it takes between 5,000 and 20,000 litres of water to produce 1kg of meat, compared to the 287 litres of water it takes to produce 1kg of potatoes.
- Fix any leaks, or report any you see in public buildings
- Curb bad habits – don’t leave the tap running when brushing your teeth or washing. If you do your washing up with a bowl you use on average eight litres of water per bowl wash, compared with an average of 30 litres per running tap wash
- Make sure you fill your washing machine or dishwasher to capacity and use Eco settings
- Buy from sustainable companies.
Tips: South East Water
Watch: National Geographic