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Last Updated: Friday, 30 May, 2003, 16:47 GMT 17:47 UK
A to Z of water saving tips
The challenges facing the world in the provision of clean water may be daunting, but here are 26 ways you can play your part in conserving water. Adapted from Thames Water's Waterwise campaign.

A dripping tap could waste as much as 90 litres a week.

Brushing your teeth with the tap running wastes almost 9 litres a minute. Rinse out from a tumbler instead.

Cool water kept in the fridge means you won't have to run the tap for ages to get a cold drink.

Don't use your washing machine until you've got a full load. The average wash needs about 95 litres. A full load uses less water than 2 half loads.

Every time you boil an egg save the cooled water for your houseplants. They'll benefit from the nutrients released from the shell.

Fit a water saving device in your cistern and save up to three litres a flush.

Grow your grass a little longer. It will stay greener than a close mown lawn and need less watering.

Hoeing stimulates the growth of plants, reduces water loss from the soil surface and removes weeds that take up valuable water and nutrients.

Installing a water meter can save you water and money by monitoring how much you use.

Just taking a five minute shower very day, instead of a bath, will use a third of the water, saving up to 400 litres a week.

Kettles should be filled with enough water for your needs but not to the brim. This will reduce your fuel bills too.

Lag your pipes to avoid bursts and leave your heating on a low setting while you are out in cold weather to prevent pipes freezing.

Mulch for moisture in the garden. Adding a layer of tree bark, compost, coconut husks or even newspaper keeps the sun off the soil and retains precious moisture.

No further watering is usually required for established trees and shrubs.

Once a week is all the watering your lawn needs even in the hottest weather. Over- watering can weaken your lawn by encouraging roots to seek the surface.

Purchasing a water butt will help you to collect rain water for use on the garden.

Question your local garden centre about the water requirements of different plants. Some thrive in drier conditions.

Replacing a toilet cistern can save water. Toilets manufactured after 1993 use less water per flush.

Sprinklers can be wasteful. It doesn't take long for a sprinkler to soak your lawn thoroughly. A sprinkler can use as much water in an hour as a family of four will use in a day!

Trigger nozzles can save water by using it only when needed. This can save up to 225 litres a week.

Use the dirty water when cleaning a fish tank on your houseplants. It's rich in nitrogen and phosphorus, which provides an excellent fertiliser.

Very 'water efficient' washing machines and dishwashers are now manufactured. Machines with 'A' ratings are the most economical.

You'll find that they save on energy too.

Water your garden at the coolest part of the day to reduce evaporation.

Xeriscape means 'to landscape for water conservation.' The idea is to use plants that require less water. You can also utilise objects for decorative effect such as rocks, bricks, benches and gravel.

You can use less water by turning the hot tap down, rather than the cold tap up, if you require cooler water.

Z The end of the alphabet but not the end of water saving ideas - why not get in touch and tell us of any you've discovered?


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