An Introduction to Global Water Wastage
There are many aspects of daily living that have the power to impact the environment negatively. When taking into account every household, business, and service, these factors then have the power to increase environmental damage on a momentous, global scale.
Water waste is just one example of a damaging environmental factor, but it's an extremely significant one. It's very important for individuals, households, and businesses alike to understand the impact of water waste on the environment so that the world at large can work to a more sustainable future.
What is Water Wastage?
When talking about water waste, this can reference a few key areas. The water waste from a community of people is more commonly known as sewage. Household (or other buildings) wastewater can include the waste from toilets or from actions such as draining kitchen sinks.
Wastewater is, essentially, any water used to transport waste material from individuals and communities of people, and improperly treated or used, has the potential to pollute the environment.
Additionally, water waste is specifically using too much water. Water is a valuable natural asset, after all, and many individuals may be using more water than is needed and putting more and more demand on this natural supply.
A study conducted in 2020 revealed that a single member of a household in the UK could use up to 149 litres of water a day, on average. Consider a household of 5 people, and this number increases up to an average of 523 litres per day.
How Does Water Wastage Occur?
Simply using too much water can very easily be done by anyone. Running a very long shower, loading your washing machine too regularly, or leaving the tap running when brushing your teeth are all examples of how easy it is to waste this valuable resource.
In regard to sewage and wastewater from your pipes, damaging chemicals or cleaning products may be drained through your pipes, you may be using your sewage system too often, or it's always possible that large water treatment companies are not managing wastewater services in the best way to protect the environment.
What is the Impact of Wastewater on the Environment?
When considering the damage wastewater is capable of, the biggest threats to the environment are contamination and pollution. If sewage is not treated appropriately before being disposed of it, it can contaminate water and thereby put wildlife at great risk.
Furthermore, wastewater dispersed through flooding or leaks means that completely untreated water can enter water sources and pollute them.
The process of treating wastewater also requires fossil fuels. This means that wastewater treatment has the potential to increase carbon footprint and air quality.
On a more personal level, protecting water as a resource on an individual basis is extremely important, both for the environment and your lifestyle. Trying to preserve the earth's water supply is fundamental for reducing pollution, protecting natural life, and reducing your energy consumption.
It can be very difficult to understand the global impact of wastewater when dealing with only your own wastewater services, and especially if you're trying to do everything you can to reduce the damage.
With statistics, you will better understand the collective impact of wastewater damage and know why focusing on damage limitation by every individual is so important.
That's why the following information and statistics will be vital for further understanding and building a better future for everyone.
Global Water Wastage Statistics
When considering the situation of water wastage and the earth's future, it's important to take into account daily water use and habits within other countries around the world. With these statistics, you can better understand how your own country (and therefore your own effort) is faring in comparison to other countries.
These statistics can show a shocking difference between water use statistics based on different countries. his is an important reminder of how all countries across the world need to work cohesively to lower water wastage and help save the environment. We're all living on the same planet, after all.
Daily Water Used on Average by Individuals (litres)
Is the average daily water use in your country higher
or lower than you expected?
The biggest daily consumer of water on an individual basis: Belgium
You might expect that the country to house the biggest water consumption on a daily basis would be the country to have the largest population: but China, which does have the world's largest population, has a smaller daily water consumption than Belgium.
It just goes to show how each individual's water usage can make a significant difference.
The smallest daily consumer of water on an individual basis: Kenya
Countries such as Kenya are often struggling with a water crisis, which throws into sharp relief how valuable a commodity like water is. For countries on this list using a high amount of daily water, countries like Kenya, in comparison, are using
very little simply because they do not have access to safe water.
It's now more important than ever to preserve the water which the world does have.
UK Water Waste Statistics
When considering water waste and usage in the UK, it's important to take into account those water companies providing your water and sewage service. Alongside individual households, it's important for UK water companies to monitor their own practices too.
Water stress indicates where water, as a natural resource, is insufficient for the demands being made in that particular area. It is this water demand that UK water companies will be dealing with on a regular basis.
You may not have considered that different areas with the same country could differvastly in water stress levels, but the following statistics outline those areas of the UK dealing with serious water stress and those areas of the UK which are low in classification.
Water Company Area
Water Stress Score
Essex and Suffolk Water
Folkestone and Dover Water
Three Valleys Water
Sutton and East Surrey Water
South East Water
Mid Kent Water
Bournemouth and West Hampshire Water
South Staffordshire Water
South West Water
Tendring Hundred Water
Severn Trent Water
Cholderton and District Water
(Low being under 28, High being over 34)
Out of 23 UK water suppliers, 16 are seeing moderate to high water stress levels.
Which area of the UK do you live in? If you live in an area of severely high-stress levels when it comes to water, does this change your thinking regarding water waste and what your own household is doing on a daily basis?
If you live in an area of the UK with low to moderate stress levels, can you pinpoint the good water practices that are effective and, therefore, outline the
importance of continuing with them?
Other UK Water Waste Statistics
When dealing with water waste statistics, it's important to view these numbers in the simplest terms and in relation to your own daily habits. While large
country-wide statistics for water companies and services can be daunting, the following statistics are simply to outline the reality of water waste in regard
to the UK water supply.
Does knowing that 8 out of 10 UK residents easily waste water change your view on your own daily habits? When meeting with friends and family of a group of 10, how do you feel thinking that 8 of you might be responsible for significant water waste? These statistics are there to help outline what you can do to help and what positive changes even one individual can make in their daily routine at home.
How easily do you ignore leaky pipes or fail to conduct maintenance checks in your home to find any leaks? Three billion litres of water is a significant amount to waste of a valuable resource, for a reason that could be avoided if UK residents actively checked and maintained leaks.
You could use this knowledge to better handle your own home and plumbing maintenance, and help others to understand improved practices to preserve water, too.
Common UK Water Wasting Habits
Your daily routine may find you extremely busy. Jobs and household responsibilities may mean that water wastage is the last thing on your mind. Or, maybe you already think you're doing everything you can to preserve water without fully understanding the statistics.
That's why the following information is here to help. If you're guilty of any of the following water waste habits, the table has information on how you can rectify this going forward. You may also want to pass on this knowledge to other household members, friends, and family to encourage better water habits all round.
Some UK households may even be guilty of all of the following water wasting habits at once. It's easily done, but what matters is being more mindful of water usage and working to rectify it.
Water Wasting Habit
Percentage Of Brits
How to Rectify This
Having the tap running when washing face
Fill the sink up instead to save water. Before you begin your cleansing routine, fill your sink with enough water (and not more than you need). That way, you also don't have to worry about trying to fid the tap to turn it off when your eyes are closed!
Taking deep baths
Reduce your bath water by a small amount. Deep baths are relaxing and, naturally, you'll need enough water for a good soak. However, reducing your bath water by even an inch can help to save a lot more water without affecting your bath experience at all.
Wasting water when cooking or preparing food
Catch and reuse excess water. Cooking is a demanding (and sometimes stressful) endeavour, especially with large meals, but that's also why lots of water can easily be wasted. Instead of running your tap to wash vegetables, for example, catch the water and reuse it.
Filling up the kettle with too much water
Only fill the kettle with the exact amount needed for the purpose. Most kettles will have an indicator on the side which outlines how much water is needed for the desired number of cups. Try not to exceed this and stick to the guide.
Leaving the tap running when brushing teeth
Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth. Not only can this help to preserve water, but it may also mean you have a more thorough cleaning. When the tap is running, it can give a sense of urgency to the task or may mean you only have a quick brush. Turn the tap off and concentrate on a thorough 2-minute teeth cleaning, whilst preserving water at the same time!
Further Water Waste Statistics and Information
Having access to clean and safe drinking water is something that many countries — the UK included — can take for granted. It's something which comes
naturally, which you always have a handy supply of, and which you might not have given much thought to. You can take a shower whenever you need, grab a
glass of water, or put the washing machine on when your laundry basket is full.
It's all part of normal daily life. However, in some countries, even basic access to improved drinking water is difficult. Some people may even be living in water-scarce conditions. This is the reality of why water preservation is so important, and the following statistics can outline current water waste situations to help remind you why preserving water — even in the simplest ways — is so important.
Water Waste Issue
UK or Global
Having no access to improved drinking water
Living in water-scarce conditions
Growing demand for water supply
Filling up the kettle with too much water
Leaving the tap running when brushing teeth
Excessive consumption of water by industry and commerce
Having access to clean and safe drinking water is something that many countries — the UK included — can take for granted. It's something which comes naturally, which you always have a handy supply of, and which you might not have given much thought to. You can take a shower whenever you need, grab a glass of water, or put the washing machine on when your laundry basket is full. It's all part of normal daily life.
However, in some countries, even basic access to improved drinking water is difficult. Some people may even be living in water-scarce conditions. This is the reality of why water preservation is so important, and the following statistics can outline current water waste situations to help remind you why preserving water — even in the simplest ways — is so important.
Summarising Points for Global Wastewater Production, Collection, Treatment, and Reuse
Below are some key facts and statistics in regard to wastewater. This is to help you better understand what happens to your wastewater when it leaves your home or business, is collected, and is treated. This entire process has the potential to affect the environment in a significant way.
of globally produced wastewater is collected.
of globally produced wastewater is treated.
of collected wastewater undergoes a treatment process.
The percentage of wastewater reuse is approximately 11% of total wastewater
of treated wastewater goes through intentional reuse
The remaining amount release int o the environment
There are significant differences in wastewater production, collection, treatment, and reuse across different geographical regions. These differences can also be based on the level of economic development.
As you can see, not all wastewater is capable of being treated and reused to reap the benefits. If only 63% of globally produced wastewater is collected, the remaining 37% percent is failing to be collected, therefore putting the environment at risk.
6 Key Water and Water Waste Facts
Only 1% of the world's water is safe for us to consume. This highlights just how precious a resource like water is and what wasting any of this 1% could do.
It's possible for 5 gallons of water to be wasted simply by leaving the tap on when you're brushing your teeth.
27% of a household's water is used for showers and baths. Think how much water can then be wasted by constantly taking baths, having very long showers, or more than one shower a day.
Around 3.5 gallons of water is used for a single toilet flush.
Washing machines can use around 40 gallons of water per load.
Around 9,400 gallons of water can be wasted through water leaks, based on US figures.
Predictions for the Future
When it comes to the future of the environment on a global scale, the future may appear very bleak in terms of global warming and natural pollution if individuals do not try and make a positive difference today.
In terms of water consumption and supply, key predictions for the future can include:
- A growing world population will significantly increase the demand for water supply.
- Areas of the world that are already seeing difficulty in freshwater supply may have this situation worsen.
- An estimated 1.8 billion people will suffer from water shortage in their area by 2025.
- By 2025, that means two-thirds of the global population will be living in regions of high water stress.
- The global agriculture market will require another 1 trillion cubic meters of water annually if the increase in population continues to the estimated 1 billion more mouths to feed by 2025.
- The number of nations expected to be water scarce has increased; this is now projected to be 30 nations by 2025, increased by ten since 1990.
- Global warming will only worsen the water supply situation.
- If current trends don't see any drastic change, the world will only have 60% of its necessary water supply in 2030.
Conservation and Sustainability Efforts
Being more conservative and sustainable with water usage is the key to making a positive difference to the current water situation that is facing the world. While plenty of people are already taking action, word must be spread about the importance of not wasting water to ensure people start taking action.
There are three main types of sustainability efforts. They come in the form of:
- Rules and regulations set by countries
- Campaigns to Conserve the Use of Water
- Government Initiatives and Schemes
Each sustainability effort will approach this in its own way, but knowing the different efforts out there that you could support is crucial.
Wastewater Rules and Regulations Across the World
Counties worldwide are already putting in place effective water solutions. Take a look at the facts below to give you a better idea of who has had the most success so far and what regulations countries must follow.
- Based on performance ranking, the top five countries in the world which have the most effective wastewater treatment programs are Malta (100 score), Netherlands (99.9 score), Luxembourg (99.76 score), Spain (99.71 score), and Switzerland (99.67 score).
- Namibia is the only country that uses recycled water for direct potable use.
- The Council Directive 91/271/EEC, set out in 1991, states the official regulations for all members of the European Union in regard to wastewater management. This directive's aim is to protect the environment, and outlines rules such as monitoring the performance of treatment plants, required secondary water treatment, and the collection of water in populations less than 2000, to name a few.
Campaigns to Conserve the Use of Water
Many brands, companies, and charities are doing their part to help conserve water — and to help educate the general public, across the world, about protecting the water supply. Here are some of the top campaigns to be aware of.
Waterwise's Pledge 2021
This initiative's aim is to encourage people to try and save 2021 litres of water in 2021 by changing their daily routine and following supplied tips for water preserving.
Water UK's Water's Worth Saving
This campaign sees Water UK and Waterwise join forces to provide easy-to-follow water-saving tips.
Water Saving Week
This is an annual online event that serves to highlight the importance of saving water and encourages the sharing of ideas and solutions
World Water Day
This digital campaign is to celebrate water and tackle the world's water crisis. One of its main focuses is to raise awareness regarding those people who do not have safe access to water.
Government Initiatives and Schemes 20
It is not just non-for-profits trying to tackle this problem; over the years, government schemes have been put in place. These are the top schemes:
The OECD Water Governance Program
This framework advises governments on all levels on how to implement improved water policies in order to improve lives.
The Water Action Decade 2018-2028
Formed to tackle and avert a global water crisis, the UN General Assembly launched this plan of action to better manage the world's water supply.
The UK Water Environment Grant
This scheme was devised to provide funding in order to improve water in rural England. This includes lakes, canals, rivers, and coastal waters.
What You Can Do to Waste Less Water
Protecting the environment starts at home. It's extremely important to make active efforts to change your water waste habits. It may seem like an impossible task or a big responsibility when you're viewing the state of the world, but always remember that even the simplest changes you make at home can make a positive difference — and that's just for one person living alone. A family of 4 which develops the same water improvement habits, for example, can make even more of a difference within the same household. It's also important to support other household members, or people you know, in water-saving habits. Always share any information or tips you have, including the ones listed here.
Some ways you can waste less water include:
Install low-flow systems, such as showerheads
Many people opt for a bathroom overhaul or renovation project, so why not make it one which benefits your water consumption, too? Make your home as eco-friendly as possible when it comes to your plumbing.
Not only do low-flow systems help you to preserve water, but they also mean you can save money on your energy bills.
What low flow means is reduced water pressure in order to save as much water as possible. Low flow is particularly beneficial for busy households which see a lot of bathroom traffic.
Take shorter showers and half-full baths
Be more mindful about why you're taking a long shower. It's easily done, especially during winter months, to take a longer, hotter shower. Some people may even decide to multi-task and try brushing their teeth in the shower! Others may put the shower on to get the water running whilst sorting laundry or attending to other bathroom tasks.
Eliminate this excess water waste by turning the shower on when you're ready to get in and limiting your shower to a few minutes.
In regard to baths, if you're taking a quick bath for basic hygiene, you can avoid a completely full bath. If for relaxation, think about limiting your water level by even just an inch or two.
Avoid laundry loads if they are only half full
Laundry can be very difficult to separate and keep on top of, especially within busy households. There may be certain clothing items you desperately need but for which you haven't got enough corresponding clothes or colours to warrant a full load.
Having better organisation with your clothing and laundry system will really help. Try to avoid half-full laundry loads. If there are certain clothing items you know you like to wear often, be more organised ahead of time so that you can put items in a full load rather than last-minute half-load panics!
Another tip is to think about the type of materials and colours you're buying. If you have a few delicate items which cannot be used on a normal wash, you might be risking half-full delicate cycles to wash them. Furthermore, you may have a lot more dark colours than you do light, meaning you're forced to run a half-load for your light items only. Avoid this if you can by sticking to colours and materials which can easily be washed together. Let this build up over time so that you eventually have delicate whites in with other white clothes and delicate blacks with coloured clothing, which you can put on delicate washes.
Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth
There's no reason for your tap to be on when brushing your teeth, and it's a simple fix that can save a significant amount of water. It's important to let your kids know this, too, if you do have younger family members who brush their teeth without you to supervise.
Turn the tap on when you need a quick burst of water for a refresh, but, otherwise, leave the tap off.