Could you use less water?

We use water without thinking – it is an important resource that we tend to take for granted.

If you think about the water needed to produce raw materials, process them, package the goods and then transport them to our shops, then:

  • to produce one loaf of bread takes 683 litres of water
  • one cup of take-out latte takes 241 litres of water
  • 341,250 litres of water is used to make a family sized car and it takes 441 litres of water to produce just one litre of petrol.

When we throw food away we waste water too.  Water is used in the growing and packaging of the food we buy.  Each year UK homes throw away 8.3 million tonnes of food; that’s enough to fill Wembley stadium 10 times.  In the North East we spend £½ billion on food we don’t eat – to the average family that’s £50 per month thrown in the bin.

In the Tyne Catchment, almost all of the water reaching our taps comes from Kielder Reservoir, Derwent Reservoir and our rivers.  Huge pumps take water from the main Tyne at Riding Mill and transfer it to water treatment sites such as Horsley where it is made safe for our use.  Cleaning the water before it reaches our taps requires the construction and maintenance of water processing plants and the use of chemicals which themselves have to be produced, transported to site and disposed of safely when spent.

If we demand more water, and if it is polluted when it arrives at treatment sites, it costs water companies more to make it safe and pump it to us, and therefore it costs us more on our bills.

We’re not suggesting that you don’t keep clean!  But there are easy ways to reduce the demand on our water.   Waterwise has some useful tips on saving water – check out their web pages here.

If you only want to pay for the water you use, why not ask Northumbrian Water to install a water meter at home.  In most cases it is free.  Click here for more information.

Error correction: the cost of water figures quoted in the Tyne folding catchment plan are incorrect.  In 2013 metered customers pay 0.11p to buy a litre of tap water and 0.11p to dispose of it (not 11p and 10p as quoted).  We apologise for any confusion caused by this mistake.