Waterwise Colchester – Our community, Our Future


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Drop 30 campaign – sign up to pledge to use less water

Drop 30 Campaign

In order to meet our future demand, we are encouraging households to try to reduce their water use by 30L per person per day.

We can’t make it rain, but we can make sure we don’t waste the water we have.

Sign up and take the Drop 30 challenge


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Water is a precious resource – but it can’t be taken for granted. Climate change, and the more extreme weather that comes with it, means that water supply is becoming more unpredictable than in years gone by. (Energy Saving Trust, 2021.)

Long-term access to secure supplies of water is one of the biggest environmental and economic challenges we and the world face today….Water use is one of those areas of the environment that seems underappreciated in terms of just how scarce and just how much of an impact it’s use has on our planet. The vast majority of Brits have no idea how much water they use each day. Research reveals 46% of people believe their household uses under 20 litres a day. A further 17% believe they consume between 20 and 39 litres a day while 15% think they use 40 to 59 litres (Water UK, 2020).

Colchester is in one of the driest regions in the UK, and our water is under pressure from population growth and climate change. Despite the perception it rains a lot, the Anglian Water region receives 1/3 less rainfall than the rest of the UK. Tomorrow’s forecast is fewer raindrops, and more people.

The East Anglian region receives less rainfall than some parts of the Mediterranean. 

By 2045 our region will be in deficit by 146Ml/d if we don’t invest in demand management, improving our infrastructure and delivering alternative water supply options. By 2050 parts of the UK are expected to suffer from extreme drought.

Our water use has increased significantly in recent times, in the 1960’s the average person used around 85 litres of water per day. Currently, the average water use per person per day in the Anglian water region is 146 Litres. Before covid it was 136l per person per day. Some of our water use is wasted through things like inefficient appliances or dripping taps/leaky loos and unnecessary excessive uses of water.

Yet, Colchester residents are using ABOVE average at 157 litres per person per day.

We need to aim of reduce use to 128 litres per person per day by 2025 if we want to avoid sever deficits in the future.

Can we work together to drop 30 litres per day?

We’re encouraging Colchester residents to save water so we can lower our daily use, lower our energy use, protect natural ecosystems and protect our future.

Because this region is so water stressed, Anglian Water are undergoing an extensive meter upgrade in a number of towns including Colchester, most houses would now have received their new meter.  Many people find that having a water meter fitted can help reduce their water bills with savings of up to £100 per year. Metering makes particular sense because, on average customers with water meters use 15% less water than those customers without. Anglian water’s metering programme has helped contribute to managed demand over the last 10 years through customer’s being more conscious of what they are using, as well as helping to find leaks.

If you are an Anglian Water customer, you can monitor your usage by downloading the My Account, it will help you check your daily usage and even spot leaks! You can also check and pay your bills, set up a payment plan, and register for priority services if you have any additional needs. Anglian Water has been upgrading water meters in this region. The meters provide customers with next day water usage data, giving daily & hourly usage, enabling more control of usage & better insights of personalised water usage

The situation has become so serious in this region that major pipe-line construction has already started to bring water from the Lincolnshire region to meet our continuing demand.

**this has already resulted in the removal of established hedgerows and will add additional pressure to the rivers in that region.

The image below shows how we use water: Water usage in an average household

Where does our water come from?

Our planet is covered in water, but most of this is salt water, which is very different to the freshwater we need for drinking and maintaining our lives.

To break it down more precisely, 71% of the earth’s surface is covered in water. 97% of the world’s water is found in our oceans and seas which is too salty to drink. Another 2% is locked up in glaciers and ice caps in the Arctic and Antarctic or on top of mountains. Which leaves just 1% of the Earths water useable to humans. If that 1% was put into a bucket, most of it (96%) would be in ground water, 3% would be in lakes and 1% would be in rivers and wetlands. So hopefully you can see there is only a small amount of useable fresh water on our planet.

The water that comes out of our taps has been collected from natural wetlands and from ground water chalk aquifers from rain collected from October to March. The rain that falls outside of those months does not contribute to this water. When we have less winter rainfall and high demands, this causes water levels to drop – meaning less water for water supplies, our rivers and chalk streams. With winters becoming drier and summers becoming hotter. Tomorrow’s forecast is fewer raindrops and more people.

Can’t we just convert salt water to freshwater?

It is not an easy process to convert salt water to freshwater, desalination plants can convert this water but this technology cost’s enormous amounts of money and requires large amounts of energy.

Why should we save water?

It saves energy

  • All the water we use has to be filtered, cleaned, treated and heated and then transported to our taps, this uses up a large amount of energy. Saving water therefore lowers your carbon footprint.

It saves wildlife

  • Water is essential to cells and therefore to life; humans, animals and plants need water to survive.
  • It provides specialist wildlife habitats.
  • More than half of the species that depend on UK rivers, lakes and wetlands are in decline.
  • By using water more wisely we can ease the pressure on these habitats ensuring more stable, resilient habitats for the birds and other wildlife which depend on them for their survival.
  • When we drain our groundwater levels, this means less water for our rivers and other natural wetlands.
  • Lower river levels reduce oxygen levels which are necessary to plant and aquatic life, plus it increases the water temperature unstabilising the organic matter.
  • Lower river levels also affect water quality by increasing the concentration of pollutants.

For fairness and equality

  • It’s the right thing to do for our community, for the planet and for our future generations.
  • Developed countries are far worse than other parts of the globe. Water is essential for the production of virtually everything including our food, clothing, manufacturing of goods.
  • As of 2015, 29 percent of people globally suffer from lack of access to safely managed drinking water (National geographic, 2019)
  • By 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas (WHO, 2019)
  • Responsible and sustainable living and business are key to managing demand. 

It saves you money!

The average household spends approximately £400 a year on a metered bill. This is likely to be higher if they have inefficient appliances, dripping taps or leaky loos. A leaking toilet can add as much as £300 a year to your bill.

As well as the water that comes out of our taps and toilets, there is hidden water in the products we buy. For example, one cotton t-shirt has about 2,700 litres of water embedded in its production, which is around 49 baths full of water!

En-forms top tips for saving water at home

With a better understanding of ‘why’ we must value water and not waste it, it is now important that we let you ‘how’ to save water.

Save water in the bathroom


  • Where possible, take showers rather than baths and try to keep them to 4 minutes or less.
  • A 4 minute shower (the duration of 1 song!) could save up to £120 per year and roughly 60L of water.
  • You should aim to use a water efficient showerhead.
  • Replacing just 1 bath with a shower saves up to 25 litres of water.
  • Remember to check, as some power showers can use more water than a bath.
  • Baths and showers are accountable for the highest usage of water consumption in the home, at around 34%.
  • Put a bucket in the shower while you’re waiting for the water to warm up.Use the water you catch for watering plants, flushing the toilet or cleaning.


  • An average bath uses around 80 litres of water, by running it just an inch lower, you can save around 5 litres of water.
  • You can also reuse your bath water in the garden and indoor plants.


  • Water we use to flush the toilet is the same high quality in our taps
  • Dual flush toilets are designed to use less water, but there can be issues with leaks so care must be taken to maintain and check for leaks. 
  • Check for leaks: put a dye or a food colouring into the tank. You can tell if there’s a leak that should be repaired if the colour appears in the bowl. A leaky loo wastes between 200 and 400 litres of water per day.
  • Check out the en-form article on leaky loo’s: Leaky Loo’s – why you’re probably not going to read this article….. but should. – en-form
  • A Cistern Displacement Device (CDD) is a water saving device placed into the cistern to displace around 1 litre of water every time you flush. They are easy to install and can save up to 5000 litres per year. They are available for FREE from most water companies.
  • Are you thinking of re-fitting your bathroom? Choose an environmental toilet instead. Such as a grey water system or a toilet with lid that’s converted to a sink.
Toilet with a wash basin on top of the cistern.

Image Source: Victorian Plumbing


Always turn off the tap when brushing your teeth, a running tap wastes approximately 6 litres per minute.


A dripping tap can waste around 5,500 litres of water a year and can be easily fixed generally by replacing the washer. When replacing taps, fit water saving taps.


Using chlorine bleach down the toilet can cause gases and pollutes water, resulting in massive water loss. Try to use chemical free and mostly natural cleaners and other bathroom products to reduce any impact to natural waterways.


Put all the following items in the dustbin and not down the toilet; wipes, sanitary wear, condoms, cotton buds, cigarette ends and plastic wrapping. Sanitary items can take up to 4 months to biodegrade and plastic wrappings do not biodegrade at all! Remember the 3 P rule: only poo, pee and paper down the toilet.

Information source: Save Water – Waterwise

Save water in the kitchen


Try to ensure you have an energy efficient dishwasher, always ensure it is full and run it on the ‘ECO’ setting. Clean filters regularly to ensure dishes get cleaned and therefore no need for additional washing after the cycle.


Try to ensure you have an energy efficient washing machine (the best models will typically use less than 7.5 litres per kg). Always ensure it is full and run it on the ‘ECO’ setting. If you must put a half load on, switch to economy or half load.


A running tap uses a huge amount of water so use a bowl when washing dishes or vegetables. Using a bowl can save up to 10 litres of water every time. The leftover water can be used to water houseplants or the garden.


Fill up a jug of water for the fridge to chill. This can save litres by not running the tap until it is cold.

Try to fill the kettle with only what is needed, this will save water and energy.


Minimise the amount of water when cooking vegetables. You only need enough water to just cover the veg, pasta or potatoes. Bonus: with less water you keep more of the natural nutrients and flavour in your food. Using a lid also reduces evaporation and uses less energy as food cooks quicker!


Adding a tap aerator can help to reduce the flow and therefore amount of water used. 


Use low chemical / chemical free cleaners in the kitchen, particularly low phosphate detergents. Phosphates cause algae blooms which remove oxygen from water (potentially killing fish and organisms.) Look for alternatives containing zeolites and citrate.

Save Water in the Garden


Cut your grass infrequently and less often. Leave your grass longer during spring and summer. When cutting set your mower on a higher setting to keep the moisture in.

Lawns can survive long periods of dry weather if the grass is not cut too short. Even if your grass turns brown, it will recover quickly after a few days of rain.


Water thoroughly and infrequently. This will reduce the amount of water lost to evaporation, and little and often encourages roots to stay near the surface.


Use a Water Butt to collect rainwater. This water can then be used to water the garden. By ignoring the hose, you can save up to 15 litres of water per minute and this water is free! Plus, plants prefer rainwater to treated tap water.


Sprinklers and hoses typically use about 1000 litres of water an hour. This is more than 12 baths.

AVOID PRESSURE WASHERS or use sparingly. Look out for water-efficient models.


Use a watering can instead of a hosepipe to water the garden and save a whopping 225 litres of water in 15 minutes.


Many plants can go at least a day without watering, and if you know rain is forecast for tomorrow then you know not to worry. The RHS have some great watering advice: Saving water in the garden; harvesting rainwater; improving drainage / RHS Gardening


If you must use a hosepipe, this water efficiency tool can halve the amount of water wasted and help direct the flow to the root of your plants.


Plant flowers and shrubs that survive in hot climates, thereby needing less watering. Some examples are thyme, evening primrose, rock rose, Californian poppy, pinks, lavender, buddleia and hebes.


Leave plants alone until they show signs of wilting. Watering too often wastes water, and the roots remain shallow which ultimately weakens the plant.


Use mulches such as wood chips, barks and gravel to cover soil to prevent water evaporation by up to 75%. 

Try to plant ground cover plants. This prevents evaporation from the soil.

Join the Potting Shed Club on Facebook for more water saving tips and ways to encourage wildlife in the garden

Drop 30 Campaign

Now that you know how to save water, why not pledge to reduce the amount of water you use at home?

We can’t make it rain, but we can make sure we don’t waste the water we have.

Sign up and take the Drop 30 challenge

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