Britain is One of the Biggest Water Wasters in Europe

By Wwf-uk And The Fairness On Tap Campaign, PRNE
Monday, November 28, 2011

LONDON, November 29, 2011 -

Britain is one of the biggest water wasters in Europe - running the equivalent of 1,200 Olympic swimming pools down the plughole every year, it has been revealed.

A study found we are more likely to leave the tap running, take more baths, have longer showers and adopt a more cavalier attitude towards water than the rest of Europe.

It also emerged just six out of ten of us actively try and save water around the home compared to nine out of ten in Spain, and eight out of ten in Italy and France.

The figures are even more astonishing because Britons pay roughly £77 a year more for their water than anyone else in Europe.

Rose Timlett of WWF-UK, who are part of the Fairness on Tap campaign, said: “The survey results show the majority of people in the UK are doing more than ever to save water, but there is still a long way to go if we are going to match the water-wise efforts of our European neighbours.

“Ultimately, cutting waste is essential to cutting rising water bills. But people need more help to be water efficient: they need advice, incentives and the right equipment.

“So it’s time the Government and the water companies played their part.

“The Government’s Water White Paper, due next month, is the opportunity to introduce a fair and sustainable water charging system based on water meters and supported by water efficiency and special tariffs to protect families on low income or with medical needs.”

The study found one in two of us leave the tap on when we brush our teeth, wasting over 400 million litres of water a day.

With water costing about 0.1p per litre, this equates to pouring £40 million pounds down the plughole.

By comparison half as many Germans would leave the tap running.

It also emerged twice as many Brits flush rubbish like cotton wool buds or facial wipes down the toilet compared to the French and one fifth of Brits admit they flush the toilet unnecessarily.

Brits are twice as likely to have a bath compared with people in Germany and nearly three times as likely as those in Spain and France.

And 18 per cent of Brits have a bath and a shower on the same day.

The research into the water wastage of 5,000 Europeans across Britain, France, Italy, Spain and Germany also revealed stark differences in attitudes around the value of water with most Brits believing water charges are unfair.

It’s not all bad news though with the results showing more than two thirds of us are actively trying to save water at home with the most popular methods including washing clothes less and only boiling as much water as needed for a cup of tea.

And one in twenty said they often jump in the bath or shower with their other half to save water.

Woman are slightly more water savvy, with more than two thirds trying to save water in the home compared to just more than half of men.

Rose Timlett added: “These results show that we have a more laissez faire attitude to our water use in the home compared to some of our European neighbours.”

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For further information contact James Coleman,, +44(0)203-4275404


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