Swindon water-saving pilot slashes daily use by 1.7M litres
Residents and businesses in Swindon reduced their daily water use by more than 1.7 million litres - almost 260 Olympic-sized swimming pools per year – after a local water- saving campaign by Thames Water.
Save Water Swindon saw every household in Swindon offered a free water-saving visit or the opportunity to request gadgets to install themselves. More than 24,000 homes snapped up the offer, saving outstanding of 46.6 litres each per day, on average.
Thames Water started Save Water Swindon to help protect the River Kennet catchment area, which is home to one of only 200 chalk streams left in the world and boasts species including water voles, water crowfoot, river lamprey and brown trout. Some of Swindon’s water supply comes from groundwater in the catchment and Save Water Swindon encouraged people to make the connection between their water use and the local environment.
Karen Simpson, Save Water Swindon project coordinator at Thames Water, said: “I’m absolutely delighted we have beaten our ambitious target of saving one million litres per day. This is the result of four and a half years of dedication by our customers in Swindon, Thames Water and our partners WaterWise, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), ARK (Action for the River Kennet) and Swindon Borough Council.
“Swindon residents have shown how much they care about the River Kennet, which will be better able to cope with periods of low rainfall and changing weather patterns as a result. I’d like to say a huge thank-you to everyone who got involved with Save Water Swindon and ask people to keep saving water and ask their friends and neighbours to order our freebies to save even more water, energy and money.”
Charlotte Hitchmough, director of Action for the River Kennet campaign group, said the project had helped preserve the river’s wildlife, which also includes mayflies and otters.
“All of these species need cool, clear and plentiful water in the river to survive,” she said.
“Every drop each of us can save in our homes is potentially another drop of water left in the river, so thank you Swindon and keep up the good work.”
The campaign saw almost a third of Swindon households order water-saving freebies including efficient showerheads, tap inserts and toilet cistern bags or have a home visit to fit them.
The average savings achieved mean metered households, which took part in Save Water Swindon, could save £35 on their annual water bills. Using less hot water means all households could have also saved an average of £36 on energy bills.
Thames Water also provided water efficiency measures and advice at a number of schools and business in Swindon and carried out extensive research on how to reduce water use in other areas of the country.
This work resulted in an extra 640,000 litres per day being saved, in addition to the one million litres saved by residents.
Rose O’Neill, WWF’s water policy manager, said: “Save Water Swindon tried something that had not been done before and, as a result, residents of Swindon have not only helped to save water but they’ve also helped the River Kennet – the beautiful chalk stream that supplies them with water and is also home to some of the nation’s most precious wildlife.
“We, at WWF, are certainly proud to have been part of this project. It has carved a path for the ‘whole town’ approach to be used in other parts of the country so they too can see water efficiency savings as well positive environmental benefits.”
Jacob Tompkins, managing director of WaterWise, added: “This pilot demonstrates that large-scale, whole town water efficiency interventions can successfully deliver significant contributions to water company supply demand balance. Now we would love to see this approach scaled up and used in other areas.”
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