The Big Tap Challenge

19 January 2011, 00:00

Water Companies across the South East have joined forces to launch the Big Tap Challenge. We're all being encourages to save water; this is the companies' statement

Most people in the South East of England have heard of ways to avoid wasting water and a large number already have environmentally friendly habits when it comes to how they use tap water, new research* reveals.

Now a new campaign, the big tap challenge, aims to reinforce positive steps we can all take to use tap water wisely at home and encourage everyone to make a pledge to do their bit.

The campaign, funded by 10 UK water businesses**, including South East Water, is being spearheaded by famous former Olympic athlete Kriss Akabusi, who stars in a short video highlighting simple ways people can use tap water wisely in and around their homes and gardens.

“It’s great to find out so many people realise tap water shouldn’t be wasted and to see that so many people are already taking action, but there’s still a lot to do to ensure everyone gets the message and takes action,” said Kriss.

“For example, leaving the tap running when you clean your teeth wastes six litres of water a minute. If everyone in the UK who currently leaves the tap running when they brush their teeth turned it off instead we would avoid wasting 446 million litres of water – enough to supply 2.9 million people for one day. That’s almost double the population of Sussex.”

As we all know, recent severe weather has been causing disruption to water supplies for some people in the UK. This highlights how essential tap water is in our daily lives and how important it is for us all to help secure our future water supplies by using water wisely.

Research by the big tap challenge found that whilst a quarter of people in the UK are already washing fruit and veg in a bowl, half still do it under a running tap.

Part of the problem is that people aren’t aware how much water can come out of their taps in a minute, with three quarters underestimating the flow (which is about 7.5 litres per minute).

“I know a lot about running but even I got this question wrong and I was amazed that a dripping tap can waste 5,000 litres of water a year,” added Kriss. ”If everyone in the UK fixed their dripping taps we’d save enough water to supply 120,000 people for one day.”

There is also plenty of scope for everyone to use water more wisely outdoors. Around a quarter of people already use a water butt and about 10% use left over washing up water on the garden, but a lot of people are still using tap water.

“Something like 85,000 litres of rainwater falls on a house, garage, shed or greenhouse roof every year so there’s no excuse not to collect some of it in a water butt to water your garden, clean your car or wash your windows,” said Kriss. “It saves using tap water and rainwater is generally better for your plants.”

Join Kriss Akabusi in the big tap challenge. Visit and make a pledge to change the way you use your taps at home. People who make a pledge will have their name entered into a monthly draw with the chance to win some fun water-related prizes.

Lee Dance, Head of Water Resources and Environmental for South East Water said: “Saving water will not only help to save the environment, if you reduce the amount of hot water you use at home it will help save you money on your energy bill, plus, if you have a water meter it will save you money on your water bill too.”