To achieve a goal you have to make a start. I made my start last week by reviewing our water bills. It turns out that there’s a point to hoarding some of this stuff, particularly if it gives you as much useful information as these bills do.
Our hoarded bills go back to March 2010 (bill received for the period to September). Each one covers a 6 month period, and as our water is metered it’s easy to see how much we used in each of the billing periods. I was astonished to see how successful we’ve already been – a good place to start from (though maybe that means that we’ve already done the easy things, and achieving more will be harder?).
Our water use is measured in cubic metres. The funnel chart below shows how our water use has (overall) decreased since September 2010, the first year we have figures for (chart moves from the oldest at the top to the most recent at the bottom. I’ve never come across a funnel chart before, and it seemed entirely appropriate for this project). The aim is to see the bands narrow towards the bottom. And I’m sorry, I can’t figure out why this image is so small and I’ve failed to make it larger. But I hope you get the idea just from the changes in band width.
The key thing to note is that in 2010 we were using around 37 – 39 m3 of water every 6 months, whereas in 2017/18 this was down to 23 m3 every 6 months. In other words we reduced our water use by a third.
I was intrigued to understand how this happened. Looking back at our records, I see that in the period ending September 2011 we had work done to our kitchen, which included fitting a new dishwasher. During the next period (ending March 2012) we replaced both the old toilets in the house with new dual flush toilets. Although the reduction had already started before both those changes, I’m guessing that they probably helped keep it going.
According to Wessex Water, the company that supplies water in our area, average daily use of water for a two person household (which we are) is 301 litres. Our daily use during the most recent billing period (6 months to September 2018)was 123 litres. In the equivalent period the previous year our daily use was 134 litres. It’s true that now we’re retired we go away more often than before. But as against that, when we’re home we’re at home much more than before. So I guess the two even each other out to some extent.
My aim now is to continue using the measures we already have in place to reduce our water use, and implement a few more as we think of them. We will have two bills during this year (March and September), and another in March 2020 that will in part reflect our actions during 2019. Next time I write about this, I’ll say more about what we do to try to reduce the amount of metered water we use.