Top 10 ways Brits are wasting water – including overfilling the kettle

Half of Brits are unaware of how much water they are wasting at home – on things like overfilling the kettle, and running the dishwasher or washing machine when it is not full, research has found.

Other top wastes of water include leaving the tap running while brushing teeth or washing up by hand, and taking longer showers than necessary, or filling the bath up to the top.

But almost a quarter (23%), of the 2,000 adults polled, are not inclined to change their ways, as it would alter their daily routines.

And 17% claim they can afford to use all the water they want, while 15% believe the tendency for it to rain in the UK means there’s no shortage of it.

However, two in five (41%) admit they need to change their ways – but don't know how to make a difference.

And over half (55%) revealed they weren’t aware of the environmental impact water waste has in the UK.

The study was commissioned by Affinity Water, which has teamed-up with Ben Fogle, to highlight the importance of water conservation.

As part of this, children from Thomas Harding Junior School, in Chesham, Bucks., were taken on a river-dipping trip to learn about water usage and the knock-on effect it has on chalk streams.

Ben Fogle said: “During my global adventures, I’ve seen how fragile habitats can come under threat.

“Our chalk streams have been described as England’s Great Barrier Reef.

“They are ten times more endangered than both the Bengal Tiger and the Black Rhino, and as worthy of protection as anything I’ve seen on my travels.

“Sometimes we take the water coming out of our taps for granted, so learning how wasting water can affect some of our most precious ecosystems is important.

“I’m hoping Affinity Water’s Save Our Streams initiative will encourage people to change some of those habits that they’ve fallen into.”

The study also found 38% of those polled are using more water in their homes now compared to 12 months ago.

A spokesman for Affinity Water said: “We all want to do our part to help the environment, but it’s important we understand how the little things we do each day can have a bigger impact.

“The fact that people are having more showers each week, and taking longer as well, is quite striking – in addition to the fact that many are unaware of the levels of water they are using.

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“Given the recent droughts we had this summer, and rainfall still below average for the last six months, it’s important to review our everyday habits to ensure we conserve as much H2O as possible.

“That’s why we are re-launching Save our Streams. It is about making water conservation become second nature, by helping people understand their water footprint, and the simple steps they can take to save water.

“Saving water will also save money, as up to 20% of a typical energy bill goes on heating water.

“Using less water can help save on energy bills. Two minutes less in the shower, in a four-person household, could save as much as £414 a year on energy.”

It also emerged that 36% would be willing to use water more efficiently if they could save money by doing so.

And one in three (31%) said understanding how being less wasteful could help the planet, would motivate them to change their habits.

The research, carried out by OnePoll, also found 33% have “permanently” changed their water usage behaviour since this summer’s heatwave led to droughts.

And 28% fear there could be a water shortage in the UK during the winter months, if water continues to be wasted as it appears to be at the moment.

The spokesman for Affinity Water added: “Making simple changes every day will have a huge collective impact on our streams, and people can also save a bit of money on their energy bills.

“We have had one of the driest summers on record, and despite us all believing it rains a lot in this country, rainfall has been below average for more than six months.”

TOP 10 WAYS BRITS ARE WASTING WATER ON A DAILY BASIS:

  1. Filling the kettle with more than you actually need
  2. Leaving the water running while brushing teeth
  3. Using a full flush when a half flush would suffice
  4. Leaving the tap running while washing-up by hand
  5. Leaving the tap running while washing fruit and vegetables
  6. Not using the eco-friendly function on the dishwasher or washing machine
  7. Using a hose to water the lawn or garden
  8. Filling the bath to the top/topping up with hot water
  9. Running the washing machine when it isn't full
  10. Regularly having long showers

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