Watch your water waste

Hose pipe

In Consumer Advice, Water, Water efficiency

Summer is in full swing, and paddling pools everywhere are being filled to the brim, offering cool refreshment for those who splash in. While we don’t want to be a killjoy to those enjoying the garden, water is a precious resource, which shouldn’t go to waste. In this blog we’ll give you a few ideas on how to save and recycle water, so you can enjoy the garden guilt-free this summer.

1) Paddling pools use a considerable amount of water to fill, and you need to think about what to do with that water when you have finished using it. Untreated water (water that hasn’t been treated with chemicals such as chlorine) can be used to water the plants in your garden. So don’t just pull the plug on your pool, first use as much as possible to give your pots, hanging baskets and boarders a drink.

2) If you have a number of plants to tend, or even a pond to fill, you can ditch the tap water and use rainwater instead by installing a water butt. Not only will this give you free water, but it is better for your garden as rainwater doesn’t deposit limescale or increase the alkalinity of the soil. It’s also a better alternative for topping up ponds too.

Water butts are a good investment, especially in the UK's climate. However, users do need to be aware of the risks of legionella and that some cleaning is required. Simply insulating the water butt will go a long way to cutting any risk and will help protect against freezing weather in winter too. If possible, install it in a shaded area to help keep temperatures low.

3) Take the time to check your outside tap isn’t leaking and that it is both adequately insulated and operating correctly. A dripping tap can waste more than 60 litres of water per week if it isn’t rectified, so if it is leaking or hard to turn, get it fixed!

If you need a local plumber to help, you can find one via our find a plumber online tool.

4) If your hosepipe has sprung a leak, don’t ignore it, replace it! You will be wasting far more water than you realise and if you are on a water meter, you will be paying for every drop.

5) Do also make sure you empty the water out of garden hoses after use. This will again reduce the risk of bacteria such as legionella forming in standing water during hotter temperatures. It will also reduce the risk of scalding water sitting in the hose during the heat, or frozen water splitting the pipe during winter weather too.

6) While we are talking hoses, we should talk attachments too. Minimise the use of unattended sprinklers. It’s very easy to forget about them and return to a waterlogged garden, with damaged plants and a huge water bill. Only water what you need to water. That way you will be doing your bit for the environment, while saving money too.

7) When filling up ponds and pools, don't submerge hose pipes because of the risk of back-siphonage. This is when water flows in the wrong direction i.e. from the end of the hose back to the tap and into the water system, because of a difference in water pressure. This can lead to water contamination and be very bad for your health.

For more tips on safe gardening and legionella, visit our gardens page.

You can save water and money by visiting our top tips to lower your water bills page.