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Water conservation

Talking today with someone on a water meter. He was looking at reducing his water bill and we were discussing options. The water meter is another scam in the UK where water flows freely from the sky in more than adequate amounts and only a very few areas need water conservation, usually in the South East of England where they screwed up the water supply situation big time.

A main source of water usage is the simple act of flushing the toilet. This uses several litres per flush and for most waste it is overkill. Our liquid waste can be disposed of with a much reduced flush. We discussed putting a brick in the toilet cistern which means it holds less water for the flush. Obviously heavy waste, faeces, may be a problem and if so you need to either let the cistern fill completely or have a separate bucket of water to do flush it manually. Either would be fine for saving several litres per day.

In addition, not having a fridge, he puts water into the bath and puts items requiring refrigeration in there. The cold water from the system keeps the items cool until the water warms. The problem being is that this takes several litres of water and being on a meter this costs money. Although still cheaper than an electric fridge. The option we discussed was to reduce the surface are of the water and the heating rate by putting the water in a cool box or polystyrene box with less volume and a smaller surface area. The theory here was the cold water from the system would be insulated from the outside and would stay cooler longer requiring less frequent replacement and thus save water costs.

Another option for a few items needing refrigerated, were to put the items in the cistern. Cold water every flush and no wasted water. Could even replace the brick if there were enough items.

Just thinking outside the box to save some money. Have you any tips to save water?

11 comments to Water conservation

  • Mark

    We don’t have a water meter, but a few of the tips I know I would use if we did are rain water for flushing, or waste water from showers and bathing, filling with a bucket, or if you want to go the whole hog convert the toilet with a pump from a tank, washing up water I would use via a bucket to flush the number “2s” 🙂 after all you have paid for it, so reuse it, I know I would have to use fresh water at times, but again I would use the bucket or maybe sea or lake/stream water, I live less than 200 yards from the sea 🙂 I know not everyone can have this option. there you go a few ways to think about to start you off. Just an after thought before you lynch me, the sea water option I would only use incase of the no freshwater on tap for a while type of event, I imagine it would play havoc at our local sewerage farm.

  • moosedog

    If what fell from the sky is what came out of your taps I’d agree that water meters are a scam. However your water bill pays for it to be treated to be safe for human consumption and for disposing of all your water waste. I live in a 3 bed semi with 2 toilets (both dual-flush) and a shower. My son & dog live with me and with little effort, mainly not flushing the toilet unnecessarily (Janet Street Porter sums it up nicely “if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down”) our water bill is £10 per month. To my mind the scam is charging those without meters 4 or 5 times this amount every month.

  • Skean Dhude

    Mark,

    I was thinking of the waste water from the bath for my friend but it makes sense to reuse water and water that would otherwise be wasted, except sewage, would end up the same place anyway so can be easily reused no matter how dirty.

    I like the bit you added about the sea water but the water stasi is not set up yet. 🙂

    Moosedog,

    The infrastructure for the water was set up a long time ago and used to be part of your house rates. Over the last 20 years it has been separated and increased in cost by a massive amount. It is a tax pure and simple and, like all such taxes, well over cost. We are not kno2wn as Rip Off Britain for no reason.

    In most cases moving to a water meter increases costs. You are one of the few people that it does not and I suspect that is more to do with the sacrifices you personally make.

  • Mark

    Another thing I would point out, just in case, and I ain’t 100% sure of how it works, BUT if the water that falls onto your roof and runs down your gutters and into your drainpipes then runs away rather than into a grid, a small percentge of rebate could be due to many peoples water rates. BUT remember it must not run into any type of drain, it must soak away.
    Worth checking.

  • Skean Dhude

    Mark,

    I’ve heard that but don’t now anyone that has benefited from the generosity of that legislation. It must be hell to prove, take hours of form filling and monitoring and will be questioned all the way. I question if it is worth it.

  • Mark

    was just a bit of useless info I had on my mind, someone may have a use for it. But also just read on another site that rainwater is fine for bathing, not for brushing teeth or rinseing your mouth, so perhaps after washing in rainwater, then using it to wash clothes, then using it to flush a loo is a good way to conserve water, not sure how you woul go about all the plumbing it would need but seems the way to go.

  • Skean Dhude

    Mark,

    Rainwater needs processing before it can be used for drinking, cleaning your teeth or cooking. It is OK coming from the sky but landing on the roof and running across guttering picks up debris and germs.

    Another bit of useless info. People go abroad and are careful about drinking the water. Then they clean their teeth in the tap water. Ooops.

    If we were plumbing houses from scratch we would plumb in different pipes for different things. Like everything in life going back is more of a problem. I’m looking at doing that in my house anyway.

  • Ronnie

    I’ve lived in a few houses with private septic tanks and soak away systems… guess what, the water rates and Council tax are the same for these houses, despite no sewage system, no piped gas, no mobile library, no street lights, road maintanance, winter road grit (used to be provided in yellow bins for locals to spread on corners and hills, now told there’s not enough to go round), no public or school bus service. But then I choose to live 10 mins from town rather than in the thick of it.

  • Skean Dhude

    Ronnie,

    I’m not surprised although I suspect you could get a refund but they keep it quite and make it difficult.

    You are unusual in that many go into the wilds but expect the same level of service from post, broadband, gas, water and electricity. They want the advantages but not the disadvantages. I want to move out of town but would miss the broadband.

  • james charlton

    Hi,i lived in the countryside for 5 years and to be honest,i didnt miss anything,i had no gas,just electric,but also had a old fire with a working range to cook on,which i used a few times in the winter when i was snowed in with no electric. People can adapt very easy,if they are prepared to compromise a few home comforts

  • Skean Dhude

    James,

    There is a big difference between one of us, choosing to go without home comforts and the bulk of the population who are not even prepared to keep a weeks worth of food in the house. Only a few short decades ago we were a lot different to where we are now.

    It’s not that we cannot compromise but that most won’t even look at it until it is too late.

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