Let it rain!

Coot in the rain © Joy Russell

Despite the wet weather recently, the water levels are lower than they should be in this time of year. We can't control the weather, but we can influence our water usage to save wildlife!

In our area, most of our water comes from an aquifer – a natural underground reservoir where rain water is stored within chalk. In Hertfordshire, we use more water than almost anywhere else in the country - each person uses on average 152 litres of water per day compared to the national average of 140 litres.

Winter is usually a wet time of year and serves as a recharge period for aquifers and rivers. Without significant rainfall over the winter period, water levels can drop dangerously low which can lead to some rivers running dry. 

Climate change and rising public demand for water put more and more stress onto our already stretched water systems. The Environment Agency has warned that unless we cut down our water usage drastically, we could end up with water shortages in as little as 25 years' time.

River Mimram

River Mimram (c) Pater Tatton

Around 10% of the world's chalk rivers are in Hertfordshire - these precious habitats can be severely damaged by low water levels from low rainfall and over-abstraction. The more water we use, the less water there is for our chalk streams and rivers. This has huge effects on our local wildlife, from our already threatened water voles to the brightly-coloured kingfisher. 

There are many simple things we can do in our home and garden to lessen our impact on nature - save wildlife by saving water!
Sarah Perry, Living Rivers Officer
Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust
Kingfisher

Kingfishers depend on rivers as food source and habitat. © Andy Morffew

Follow our top water-saving tips below and help save our precious rivers while cutting your household bills at the same time!

In the bathroom

  • Aim for a 4-minute shower and save between 5 -15 litres per minute. 

  • Turning off the tap while brushing your teeth can save over 6,500 litres of water a year.

  • Whenever you can, use the half flush button, if you have a dual flush toilet.

  • Add a water-saving device into the cistern to use less water when flushing.

  • Leaking toilets can waste hundreds of litres a year, so watch out for a leaky loo!

In the kitchen

  • Save water and electricity by only boiling enough water in the kettle for your immediate use.

  • Fix dripping taps and save up to 5,500 litres of water a year.

  • If buying new appliances, look at the Eco-label for water and energy consumption.

  • Only run your washing machine and dishwasher with a full load.

In the garden

  • Water your plants using a watering can, either early in the morning or during the evening when it is cooler and there is less chance of water evaporating.

  • A water butt to collect rainwater can save up to 5,000 litres a year.

  • Consider plants that are more drought-tolerant - the RHS has a good list to get you started.

  • Wash your car with a bucket rather than a hosepipe.

 

Affinity Water

The Trust's long-term partner Affinity Water promotes responsible water saving through its water saving scheme. Saving water is easy with water saving devices. Affinity Water offers its customers free devices to help them keep track of the tap and save water, energy and money.

Order your free water-saving devices from Affinity Water!