What is the problem?
Research by the water industry has found that around 5 to 8% of our toilets are leaking water into the toilet pan. They are typically wasting between 215 and 400 litres of water a day so, with average consumption at 143 litres per person per day, it is like having a couple of relatives moving in to live with you! Getting one fixed can literally halve your water bill if you are on a meter.
The problem is particularly prevalent in dual flush toilets due to failures in their internal valve systems. The failures allow water to constantly dribble down the back of the toilet. The scale of the problem nationally is huge with around 400 million litres estimated to be leaking from UK toilets every day, which is enough water to supply 2.8 million people - the combined population of Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, Manchester, Sheffield, Liverpool and Bristol.
So what is being done about it?
The water industry and water efficiency NGO Waterwise have highlighted the scale of the issue to the bathroom manufacturers to encourage them to design out the problem. They are actively investigating design solutions that will help avoid it in new toilets when they are fitted.
But that still leaves all the toilets that are already out there. Data from water meters, particularly smart meters can help by spotting unusual night-time consumption patterns. But not many people have a smart water meter yet so if you want to make sure you aren’t wasting water we would recommend that you regularly check on you toilets at home and at work to see if they are leaking. Put a piece of tissue placed at the back of the pan between flushes to see if it washes away or add a small amount of food colouring to the cistern between flushes to see whether it shows up in the toilet pan. Around 70% of leaky loos can be fixed by a plumber on a first visit and many water companies will provide a free repair so if you have a leak give them a call.
So this World Toilet Day on 19th November check you haven’t got a leaky loo!
Nathan Richardson, Policy & Projects Manager, Waterwise
The opinions expressed in this blog are the author's and not necessarily those of the wider Link membership.
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