150 litres of water consumed daily by every person

Irish people use almost two full bathtubs of water every day — most of which is flushed away.

According to research carried out on behalf of Irish Water, more than 80% of people misjudge how much water they use on a daily basis.

According to current estimates, each person consumes approximately 150 litres per day — equating to almost two full bathtubs of water per person per day, or 54,750 litres per person each year. Most of this water is flushed away every day.

Showers are one of the biggest consumers of water in households. The average seven-minute shower uses up to 49 litres of hot water, while power showers can use up to 175 litres in the same period.

Some 65% of those surveyed have a power shower at home, indicating that a large number of people are individually washing away more than 63,800 litres of water — or 112,456 pints — each year on showering alone.

Irish Water said cutting your shower time by one minute could save up to 9,000 litres of water a year.

Brushing your teeth with the tap running is one of the most common ways of wasting water, with about six litres used per minute. By turning off the tap when brushing your teeth, Irish Water estimated a person can save up to 7,000 litres of water.

In terms of laundry, 81% of those surveyed under-estimated how much water an average washing machine uses per load. However, 90% said they fully load the washing machine, thereby conserving water and saving money by reducing energy bills. The average washing machine uses up to 65 litres of water per cycle, so one wash per household equates to 104m litres of water.

The survey found 67% of people use more water than needed when filling a kettle, while awareness of water-saving devices was low. For example, 54% had no idea what a toilet displacement device is — it can cut the volume of water per flush by up to three litres.

Elizabeth Arnett of Irish Water said the State spends €1.2bn per annum running the public water system and that savings can be made.

“It’s clear from the findings that many of us are unaware of the sheer volume of water we are using on a daily basis,” she said. “However, it also confirms there are many opportunities for us to reduce water wastage.

“Understanding how much water we use will help us determine how much we can save. Irish Water will use the metering programme as an opportunity to gather information on water consumption habits which will help customers to improve water efficiency measures.”

Water tips

* Leak free: Fix dripping taps, cisterns, and pipes.

* Don’t let the tap run: Brushing your teeth with the tap running can use up to six litres of water per minute.

* Shower vs bath: The average bath uses 80 litres of water compared to an average shower using 49 litres.

* Don’t flush it all away: A third of all water used in the home is flushed down the toilet. Place a displacement device into the cistern to save water.

* Don’t forget to collect: Rainwater is excellent for your garden.

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