Around 60% of a typical UK household’s water consumption takes place in the bathroom. Reasons to think about saving water, both in the home and elsewhere, are the fact that several areas of England and Wales are considered to be in serious ‘water stress’, as well as the fact that considerable amounts of energy are used by water companies in treating the water they provide to us (and then in treating the water we put back down the toilet or plughole), resulting in significant CO2 emissions.

In this blog post I cover some of the water-saving steps you may wish to consider for the bathroom. People concerned with saving resources sometimes talk in terms of the 3 Rs: ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’. The order of these is important: it’s preferable to reduce our consumption of resources, using less of them in the first place. Next it’s preferable to reuse what we can, rather than put the water through the energy-intensive process of recycling. Most of the tips in this post focus on reduction, though there are one or two reuse-recycle tips as well.


According to the water efficiency organisation Waterwise: “About 30% of total water used in the household is through toilet flushing”. Some of the ways to reduce this figure include:

  • Flushing the toilet less frequently, i.e. not every single time you use it.
  • Placing a water displacement device in the cistern, such as a Hippo Water Saver or simply a filled plastic bottle.
  • When installing a new toilet, choosing a low-flush or dual-flush toilet, which according to the Energy Saving Trust “uses up to six litres less water per flush than an old-fashioned toilet – saving over 16,000 litres of water per year”.
  • Feeding your toilet flush with rainwater (click here for guidance on this) or doing away with flushing altogether by installing a compost toilet.

Baths and Showers

Personal hygiene accounts for some 25% of a typical household’s water usage. Some water-saving steps to consider where baths and showers are concerned are:

  • Showering or bathing less frequently. The idea that we should bathe or shower every day is a modern one and potentially damaging for our skin.
  • Choosing a shower over a bath. A typical five-minute shower uses about a third less water than a typical bath, saving gas as well as water because of the lower heating required.
  • Changing your shower head for an ‘eco’ head which uses less water.
  • Recycling the water from your bath or shower for using elsewhere (e.g. on the garden or in the cistern of your toilet) by installing a simple grey water system.


The final point above about grey water systems applies as much to basin as to bath and shower usage. Other steps to consider with basins are:

  • Instead of leaving the water running continuously, ry using it only intermittently when cleaning your teeth, washing your face or shaving. “A running tap wastes more than six litres of water a minute”, states the Energy Saving Trust.
  • Install flow restrictors in your taps to conserve pressure while reducing the amount of water used.

(Photo by Alex France)