How to use less water: 15 essential tips – from beef burgers to megabutts to cutting back on clothes

I went on a mission to help save the world’s water, and found dozens of ways to do it, including ice cubes in pot plants, giving up jeans and mastering my flush

I spent much of last year’s boiling hot, dry summer freaking out about drought. Baking days, hosepipe bans, parched plants and suffering wildlife gave me acute day-to-day anxiety and a real fear for the future. This year, I was determined to do something more productive than hand-wringing, so I resolved to cut my water consumption.

Then it rained for much of the summer. The UK had 170% of average rainfall this July, making it the sixth wettest on record. But that doesn’t make my efforts pointless: we still need to save water. Scientists have calculated that the climate crisis makes drought 20 times more likely, so one wet summer only offers short-term respite. The UN predicts that demand for fresh water will exceed supply by 40% by 2030 worldwide. In the UK, Sir James Bevan of the Environment Agency warned in 2019 that, without action, UK water companies would face the “jaws of death” – the point at which demand for water outstrips supply – within 20 years.

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