Water is an important part of our daily lives.
Many of us take it for granted – we wake up in the morning, take a shower, brush our teeth, grab a cuppa and head out for the day but as a recent survey by Irish Water reveals, the majority of those surveyed in Tipperary (78%) misjudge how much water they actually use at home on a daily basis.
The independent research – unveiled by Irish Water as part of a public information campaign to inform and engage consumers about the value of water and the benefits of transforming our national water and wastewater services – offers insights into the water usage habits of the Irish.
According to current estimates each person consumes approximately 150 litres of water per day. That equates to almost two full bathtubs of water per person per day or 54,750 litres of water per person each year - most of which is flushed away every day.
Showers are one of the biggest consumers of water in Irish households. The average 7 minute shower uses up to 49 litres of hot water while power showers can use up to 175 litres in the same period. The majority (55%) of those surveyed in Tipperary have a power shower at home, which means in a year many of us are individually washing away over 63,800 litres of water - that’s 112,456 pints – on showering alone. Reducing your shower time by just one minute could save up to 9,000 litres of water per year.
Brushing your teeth with the tap running is one of the most common ways of wasting water in the home with approximately six litres of water used per minute. By turning off the tap when brushing your teeth, it is estimated that up to 7,000 litres of water can be saved per year.
When it comes to doing laundry in Tipperary, 76% of respondents underestimate how much water an average washing machine uses per load. However, 84% also say they fully load the washing machine which helps to conserve water and save money by reducing energy bills. The average washing machine uses up to 65 litres of water per cycle, so one wash per household in Ireland equates to 104 million litres of water.
There are also savings to be made when brewing a cuppa. We tend to overfill our kettles in Ireland and 62% of Tipperary respondents admit to using more water than they need. Using only the required amount of water each time will mean more money in your pocket and less water down the drain.
Awareness of household water saving devices is low according to the research but this is likely to change as people become more water conscious with the introduction of water metering in Ireland. More than half of those surveyed in Tipperary (66%) have no idea what a toilet displacement device is which can reduce the volume of water per flush by up to 3 litres.
Elizabeth Arnett from Irish Water said, “It’s clear from the findings that many of us are unaware of the sheer volume of water we are using on a daily basis. However, it also confirms that there are many opportunities for us to reduce water wastage. Understanding how much water we use will help us determine how much we can save. Irish Water will use the metering programme as an opportunity to gather information on water consumption habits which will help customers to improve water efficiency measures over time.”
“Water is our most precious natural resource and the provision of a reliable water and wastewater service is expensive. It currently costs the state approximately €1.2 billion per annum to run the public water system. To maintain and indeed improve our current system we need to invest in this service. In advance of water charges being introduced in 2015, there are simple steps people can take to make a big difference to the amount of water they use on a daily basis.”