The First Toilet-Related Pledge You’ll Ever Take!

Dr Kate Marx of Waterwise

Dr Kate Marx of water efficiency experts Waterwise introduces its Pledge 2021 campaign – highlighting simple habits to save water, every day.

“Let’s talk toilets. Did you know that a leaking loo wastes between 200 and 400 litres of clean drinking-quality water per day?

Aside from anything else, it is truly strange that we flush our toilets with highly-treated water that has gone through the same energy-intensive cleaning process as the water we brush our teeth and cook our veggies in – just to get flushed down the pan again.

But back to the leakage. If 400 litres of water is leaking from your toilet every day, that adds up to an alarming 146,000 litres of water wasted every year - from a single faulty loo. If you’re on a meter this amount could ultimately double the size of your water bill. If you’re a business, you are likely to have at least one leaking toilet on your premises, pouring away a steady stream of water and money.

Because we know that between 5% and 8% of all toilets are leaking (mostly dual flush toilets), we can estimate that around 400 million litres of water could be leaking from UK toilets each day. That’s enough water to supply 2.8 million people – the populations of Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, Manchester, Sheffield, Liverpool and Bristol combined!

Why does this matter? Because the UK simply can’t afford to be wasting water.

Over-abstraction from rivers means that water levels run low, endangering the lives of local ecosystems and wildlife. The process of cleaning water and pumping it around networks is carbon intensive, and leakage creates a far heavier carbon burden than necessary. Climate change is ushering in longer periods of dry weather which threaten our water supply, making wastage that much more harmful. Our increasing UK population means that the need for water is only rising, yet current estimates suggest that parts of the UK could run out of water within 10 to 25 years time.

In a horrible but undeniable way the Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated to us what we all sortof already knew, but hadn’t really internalised – that we are all connected to each other, and that the health of other people and the environment has a direct impact on our own health. If we want to protect our communities and each other, we need to pay more attention to the water we’re using – and, when it comes to leaky loos –wasting.

The good news is that there are loads of simple habits that each of us can learn to save water. This January there’s also a fun and easy way to begin to implement these habits in our everyday lives.

When you sign up to Waterwise’s Pledge 2021 campaign you’ll receive a short email every day for the course of a month, containing an interesting fact about our water use, and a water saving challenge for the day. Among other things, you’ll learn some simple techniques for finding out if you have a leaky loo. Other challenges will help you to save water in every area of your home or business. Stick to the pledge for the whole month and you’ll save upwards of 2,021 litres of water!

The sign-up process is super simple. Just go to www.waterwise.org.uk/pledge-2021 and enter your details to take the pledge. At the time of writing there are nearly 1,000 intrepid water savers signed up, who will collectively be saving nearly 2 million litres of water during January!! You can make that figure even bigger by signing up now, letting others know you’ve taken the challenge using the hashtag #Pledge2021, and tagging @waterwise in posts to social media.

It’s your small, everyday actions that make a big difference for our community and our environment – and it all starts with a toilet-related pledge!


WaterSafe plumbers are not only trained in the Water Fittings Regulations and Byelaws that help keep the UK’s drinking water safe, but can help you save water too.

From fixing leaky loos to advising home and business owners about water-efficient fixtures and fittings for kitchens and bathrooms, you can find a qualified, approved plumber near you using our search engine at watersafe.org.uk.


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