Tip top taps

Turn off your taps

About 71% of the Earth’s surface is water. And that’s before we get to all that H20 in the air, clouds and deep underground. We really are a Blue Planet!

However, humans can only use a tiny percentage of the planet’s watery resources - most of it is either salty or inaccessible. And as demand rapidly rises, we’re starting to run out.

We all need to reduce how much water we use. So, whether you’re brushing your teeth or doing the dishes, getting your tap routine in tip top shape is a great place to start.

Why

Here are a few reasons to take action.

Click for more info or scroll to read them all.

Water

With so much good, clean water available at the twist of a tap, it’s hard to believe we need to watch how much we use. But we do. In the last century, our global water use has been growing twice as quickly as our population.2 According the UN, if we continue using water like we are today, we could face a 40% shortfall in water availability by 2030.3

Even in a country famous for its rain, freshwater is a precious natural resource. In fact, the UK’s high water use means just one or two dry spells can easily lead to water shortages and strict hosepipe bans.

When we use water more carefully, we reduce the amount being taking from rivers and other natural sources. This protects our long-term water resources, as well as the wildlife that live in and use them.

If every adult in England and Wales turned off the tap when brushing their teeth, we’d save enough water for nearly 500,000 homes or to fill 180 Olympic swimming pools– every day!

140

litres of water are used (on average) per person per day in England1

Climate Change

Although the primary reason for turning off the tap is to save water and money, it’s worth knowing that our use of water and energy are closely linked. In fact, the water industry is responsible for about 1% of the UK’s total carbon emissions.4

One of the major sources of water-related climate impact is our use of hot water. Now, hopefully you already use cold water to clean your teeth… but cutting down how much hot water comes out the tap in your kitchen or bathroom will have a positive impact on your personal carbon footprint.

Global Goals

In September 2017, an historic agreement was signed by UN member nations agreeing to work towards 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development by 2030, otherwise known as the SDGs.

Achieving these ambitious goals will require action from governments, businesses, NGOs, and individuals alike. We can - and must - all play our part.

By making the ‘Tip top taps' pledge, you are contributing in your own small way to the following SDG targets:

6.4: By 2030, substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity.

6.b: Support and strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management

12.8: By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature

13.3: Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning

How

Drip, drip, drip… turning off the tap is a really good example of how small, daily changes add up to a big difference. Here are two easy wins.

The washing up

It can be tempting to wash up by leaving the tap running and cleaning dirty dishes one by one. This uses up LOADS of water and usually results in using more washing up liquid too.

Instead, just fill up a washing up bowl with warm water and do your dishes in there. Or put in a plug and fill up the sink. Easy peasy.

To reduce your need to rinse post wash, use an eco friendly detergent.

Dishwasher or by hand? If you have a reasonably modern dishwasher and are sure to fill it up well before using it, then it uses far less water than hand washing. And remember, only the very worst of dirty dishes should need a pre-rinse.

If you have a lot of fat left over from your cooking, let the fat cool and harden so that you can scoop it out and put it in the bin before washing the pan up. Or if it's just a little bit of fat, mop it up with some kitchen roll. Putting that fat down the drain will lead to blockages and 'fatburgs'.

Brushing your teeth.

Instead of leaving the tap running while you clean your teeth, turn it on to wet or clean your toothbrush, and then turn it straight back off again.

Struggling to break this little water-wasting habit? Why not stick a little reminder on your bathroom mirror.

6 litres

per minute comes out of a running tap1

Success Stories

123

Pledges
in total

255kg

CO2
pledged