Saving water and money even with a big family - water facts.

As a big family you would think that we would be a bigger drain on natural resources than most but partly because of a degree of eco-guilt and mainly because I am always on a tight budget we are actually quite efficient - especially when it comes to water.

bathOur "getting clean" methods are a prime example of this. If the children insist on a bath it is always a shallow one and it is always shared - either with two or more actually in the bath at the same time or one after the other. I just top up with a small amount of hot water and fresh bubbles!

We tend to encourage them to shower - and it would make you laugh to see them pushed through with my efficient shower, shampoo, rinse repeat now "GET OUT QUICK so the next person can get in" routine.

It always reminds me of those dreadful days of post PE showers at my secondary school where we had to run through a line of showers in a kind of corridor set-up with a towel monitor at each end to grab the towel off you and hand it back at the other end. Or drop it on the wet floor if you were not on their friend list. It was a good day if you managed to hang onto your towel and run through with it avoiding any naked embarrassment!

showerThe older children obviously shower themselves, usually with me on the other side of the door yelling at them to hurry up! They don't pay the bills and I'm very aware of the water pelting down the drain and the electricity meter spinning!  I learned recently that although you assume you save water having a shower that fact is only true if you take short showers - a long hot shower will use more water than a bath!

Obviously with 7 children we have a dishwasher. I couldn't live without my dishwasher. No really. The thought of washing up three times a day by hand fills me with horror. Peeling skin, flaking nails, painful back and the sheer time involved. Plus I like to "tidy" by hiding things in the dishwasher - I cannot bear piles of washing up lurking in the basin.

Anyway I justify my laziness with the fact that it has been proven that dishwashers are more hygienic and that if you scrape instead of rinsing before you load the dishwasher it is more water efficient too.

a glass of waterWe drink a lot of water in our house too. Again partly laziness - it's really quick to fill a jug for the table. Partly its a budget thing - squashes and fizzes are expensive for a big family. And partly it's a health thing- one of those water facts everyone knows but rarely actually acts upon is that humans should drink around 8 glasses of water a day (which includes the water you get in food and other beverages) to keep properly hydrated. I try and get everyone in our family to at least have a glass of water or two with each meal.

I can't even start to think about how much water we use in the washing machine and flushing the two toilets in our house! The average person apparently goes to the toilet 2500 times a year and hopefully if they are practicing good hygiene they flush it 2500 times too. I can't say that's always the case in our house - there's often a lovely floating surprise when one of the little ones go....

But they have grown up with me moaning about not leaving taps running, adding chemicals to the paddling pool so it can stay up all summer without adding gallons of water every day and making three inches of bathwater do for four or five people so I can't say much when they claim their lack of flushing was their effort towards saving water can I? I just hope they are using a little bit washing their hands.

There are lots of water-related facts, top tips and a handy water calculator on the Happier Homes website. The site is unique to UK consumers and offers suggestions on how to save money whilst raising environmental awareness. Pop along and check out lots of watery facts and figures.

ducks on pond

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