Survey reveals extent of water wastage in Galway homes

The majority of Galway people underestimate how much water they use at home, according to the results of a survey published by Irish Water this week.

Many of us take water for granted, but according to the report by Irish Water, 83 per cent of those surveyed in Galway misjudge how much water they use at home on a daily basis.

According to estimates by local authorities in Dublin, each person uses approximately 150 litres of water a 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.

Showers are one of the biggest consumers of water in Irish households. The average seven-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 (79 per cent ) of Galway respondents have a power shower at home, which means in a year many of us are individually washing away more than 63,800 litres of water — that is 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 Galway, 81 per cent underestimate how much water an average washing machine uses per load. However, 81 per cent also said 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 64 per cent of Galway 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. Almost half of those surveyed in Galway (45 per cent ) have no idea what a toilet displacement device is; this device can reduce the volume of water per flush by up to three litres.

“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,” said Elizabeth Arnett of Irish Water. “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.”

Irish Water’s top tips for conserving water

• Check that your home is leak free. Check for running overflows and fix any dripping taps, cisterns, or pipes

• Brushing your teeth with the tap running can use up to a staggering six litres per minute. Brushing your teeth with the tap off will use a more modest one litre of water

• The average bath uses 80 litres of water compared to an average shower using 49 litres in seven minutes. Switch your bath to a shower for a massive water saving

• With the average shower using seven litres of water per minute, by turning your five minute shower into four minutes, you could save up to seven litres of water a day.

• Always ensure your dishwasher and washing machines are fully loaded. A modern washing machine uses approximately 65 litres of water per cycle, while a dishwasher uses 20 litres. By ensuring they are fully loaded, not only will you conserve water but you will also reduce your energy bills

• A third of all water used in the home is flushed down the toilet. Some larger cisterns can continue to work effectively with a smaller flush. Place a displacement device into the cistern (out of the way of moving parts ) to save water

• Rainwater is excellent for your garden. Collect it in a water butt from your gutters, but always make sure to securely cover the large container for safety

For further information about Irish Water see www.water.ie

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