It’s been dreich for three days solid…
Working together, saving water, saving energy
Scottish Water has teamed up with Home Energy Scotland to help households save water, energy and money. Water plays a vital role in our lives. We use it almost every moment, every day – from drinking tap water to washing, cooking, cleaning or flushing. It also needs energy to heat the water for showers, baths and washing dishes.
Whatever the weather, saving water, saving energy and cutting your carbon footprint is good for the planet and your pocket.
Why save water?
The truth is that less than 1% of rainwater ends up somewhere Scottish Water has access to.
Taking simple steps to save water also uses less energy which protects our environment and reduces Scotland’s carbon footprint. So, no matter if it’s stoatin’ off the pavement or a wee bit mochie, Scotland’s water is always worth saving – help protect this precious resource!
Although rainwater can replenish rivers, lochs and reservoirs quickly, when there is a dry spell water levels can also drop rapidly.
With more people using water every day in Scotland and with the risk of prolonged dry spells increasing, Scottish Water is engaging with customers to promote the benefits of taking simple steps to save water.
Did you know?
Around a fifth of the average household’s energy use is used to heat water. Saving hot water can help you keep your energy bills down – a family of four could save around £244 on their annual gas bill.*
* Savings based on a four person family in an average gas heated house, replacing an average shower with a four minute shower, alongside installing a regulated showerhead and using a kitchen tap aerator. Assumes a gas price of 10.3p/kWh. All figures are correct as of October 2022.
Working together for a greener Scotland
Our water use
On average, every one of us in Scotland uses around 165 litres of water every day without really thinking about it. We take it for granted that high quality, clear and fresh drinking water comes out of our tap, yet a huge amount of energy goes into making water safe to drink, and transporting it to our homes.
Scottish Water is one of the largest single users of electricity in Scotland; collecting, treating and pumping drinking water to your home and treating the waste water that leaves your home before being returned to the environment. We then use more energy heating it up in our everyday lives, which produces carbon dioxide.
Scottish Water is committed to reducing carbon emissions through investment in renewables, our energy improvement programme, and reducing leakage. Find out more about our Routemap to Net Zero.
If we all take simple steps to save water then our water supplies will go much further; leaving more in our rivers, lochs and reservoirs, and helping the environment. We’ll also save water, save energy, save money on our energy bills and reduce our carbon footprint.
Keeping the water cycle running smoothly
Scotland’s water environment has steadily improved over the last 20 years as the result of significant investment by Scottish Water.
In 2021-2022 Scottish Water invested £799 million in water and waste water services and continues to invest to ensure we can manage our water resources whatever the weather.
Scottish Water keeps the taps flowing and toilets flushing every day and is always working so the cycle never stops. We can all play our part in helping to keep Scotland’s water cycle moving.
How can you save water?
Saving water is about helping to reduce the amount of water we waste on a daily basis, not restricting what we use.
We use water in different areas of the home.
How water is used in the average home
The water we use to take a bath and shower, as well as to wash, brush our teeth and shave.
The water we use to cook, make a cuppa, or do the dishes.
The water we flush.
The water we use in the dishwasher and washing machine.
Are you water smart?
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In your bathroom
Showers and baths use the most amount of water in the home (30%), followed by toilets (23%). You could fit an aerated or eco-showerhead and continue to enjoy a shower whilst using less hot water.
Follow these water saving tips
Tip 1Turn off the tap whilst brushing your teeth and shaving
Did you know? Turning the tap off while brushing your teeth can save as much as five litres of water a minute and up to 3,700 litres of water per person per year.
Tip 2Toilet paper, pee and poo, the only things you should flush down the loo
Did you know? In a year, a family of four could flush the toilet over 10,000 times. That’s about 60,000 litres of water – enough to fill 830 standard baths!
Tip 3Make sure taps aren’t dripping, turn them off properly or replace the washer
Did you know? A dripping tap can waste over 5,500 litres of water a year.
Tip 4Make sure your toilet is not leaking
Did you know? Water can leak from the cistern into the toilet bowl without you even knowing. This can waste between 215 and 400 litres every day!
It can be tricky to tell, but follow these easy steps to see if you have a leaky loo:
- Dry the back of the toilet bowl 30 minutes after you flush.
- Place a dry tissue across the back of the bowl.
- Leave it for at least three hours without using the toilet – this may be easier to do overnight.
- Check the paper again – if it’s torn or wet, you have a leaky loo!
We have switched our old shower head with the regulated shower head for a few months now, and if anything we’ve actually found that the new one gives a better shower with a nice consistent pressure, so that has been good to help us reduce our water waste.Mr. J, Isle of Arran
In your kitchen
Over a fifth (21%) of the water used in the home is in the kitchen. Washing dishes, washing clothes, general cleaning, cooking and even making a cuppa all use water and energy.
Follow these water saving tips
Tip 1Boil the kettle with only the water you need
Did you know? You’ll save on your energy bills if you only boil as much as you need — and you’ll save time waiting for the kettle to boil too!
Tip 2Fill up your washing machine
Did you know? A full load saves on water and energy; and washing clothes at 30 degrees rather than 40 degrees reduces your machine’s energy consumption by 57%.
Tip 3Use the eco-function on your dishwasher. It will save both water and energy
Did you know? Detergents are highly effective so avoid pre-rinsing dishes. All you need to do is scrape them and place in the dishwater. Easy.
Tip 4Wash your dishes, fruit and veg in a bowl
Did you know? A tap left running full while washing dishes or fruit and vegetables for 10 minutes loses around 125 litres of water — straight down the drain.
Outside your home
Outdoor water use is split between two main activities – watering the garden and washing the car.
Follow these water saving tips
Tip 1Use a bucket and sponge to wash the car instead of a hosepipe
Did you know? Hosepipes use a considerable amount of water when cleaning the car. You could even use a garden hose attachment which could reduce water use by up to 50%.
Tip 2Water your plants early in the evening or morning to reduce evaporation
Did you know? Rainwater is free and is better for your plants as there’s more nitrogen in the rain to make them thrive.
Tip 3Use a water butt instead of tap water in the garden
Did you know? A typical Scottish roof collects between 45,000 and 90,000 litres of water each year. A water butt could collect some of this water – which should be more than enough to use in your garden.
I have found that a garden hose attachment helps to control the water I am using in the garden, so when I have it on the shower spray it is going to use a lot less water.Mrs B, Isle of Arran
Your water saving action plan
A small change can make a big difference to your energy bills and the environment. Which water-saving actions will you take?
Keeping up to date
and getting in touch
You can find more ways to save water at
Call Home Energy Scotland free on
0808 808 2282
About Scottish Water
Scottish Water is committed to acting responsibly in the way we deliver services, promoting the importance of helping to protect this precious resource – water is always worth saving. The goal is to deliver a service that protects the environment, whilst delivering quality and value for our customers.
About Home Energy Scotland
Home Energy Scotland is a network of advice centres covering all of Scotland. Our advisors offer free, impartial advice on energy saving, keeping warm at home, renewable energy, greener travel, cutting water waste and more. We’re funded by the Scottish Government and managed by Energy Saving Trust, and our mission is to help people in Scotland create warmer homes, reduce their bills and help tackle climate change.
Neither Energy Saving Trust nor any third parties provide any warranty or guarantee as to the accuracy, completeness or suitability of the information and data contained in this brochure.