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Holidays and winter weather

It's December, that time of year when thoughts turn to family time, fireplaces and New Year's Resolutions. For Waterwise, it also means thinking about how to ensure everyone has a safe and water-efficient winter. 


One of the things we'd suggest is having a look at our page on winterizing your home, put together with the Saving Water Advocacy Network (SWAN).


We're also busily putting together the programme for our 7th Water Efficiency Conference for next year. The theme is 'Engaging water users', as this is a key to bolstering water efficiency.


There is currently a COP17 meeting going on in Durban South Africa, with water resources one of the topics on the table, and the European Commission has chosen water as the theme of their Green Week in May. With recent news of prospective water shortages next year, 2012 will really be a time to focus on water efficiency. This is the last newsletter of 2011, so look for our next newsletter in January. If you have any topics for inclusion get in touch with Ryan


And, if we don't have a chance to talk to you before the new year, have a safe and happy holidays.



water efficiency retrofit home visit conference 2012 engaging

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Waterwise Conference 2012

Encouraging water users to think about how they use water is a fundamental challenge for water efficiency. Getting them to take that vital next step into acting upon that knowledge is an important piece of the puzzle. From newsletters to events, supermarket giveaways, home retrofits, retweets and Facebook likes, there are more ways than ever to interact with the people who use water.


This year's conference will be in Oxford at Lady Margaret Hall on 22,23 March, to coincide with World Water Day. The theme is 'Engaging water users'. With a great line-up of speakers, and some penetrating panel discussions, we will explore successes and failures from past attempts to improve water efficiency, and draw some conclusions about the best ways to get people to buy-in to water efficiency.


Panel discussion topics include:

'Home visits and retrofits: moments of change'

'Social research: let people tell you what you need to know'

'Innovation and communication - meeting new audiences'

Pipe lagging and winter prep

Hundreds of litres of water pouring through ceilings can be a massive waste of water (not to mention the severe damage to buildings, furniture and holiday spirits). It’s time to get those pipes wrapped up - and take extra precautions to make sure you're prepared for winter problems.


Remember, all pipework within the boundary of your home or business is your responsibility, so it really is worth protecting it properly to avoid serious problems during cold weather.

- Check that you know where your internal stopcock is located - this is usually under the kitchen sink or in the downstairs cloakroom.

 - Insulate water tanks and lag pipes (lagging material is available from all good DIY stores). Make sure there are no gaps at bends, valves or fittings.

- Ensure pipes, cisterns and tanks in unheated areas such as lofts are lagged

For a more complete list of how to winterproof your home go here.


Latest news

Schools Learn2Save 

Waterwise is currently working with Sutton and East Surrey Water and Aqualogic to offer schools the opportunity to have water efficient kit installed at no cost. As part of this trial, the schools have their bills fixed for two years based on their past consumption and the savings the school makes on their water bills go towards paying the cost of the installation of the water efficient products.


After the two-year period, the school returns to paying on a metered charging and should see a reduction in its bills. Analysis from Waterwise's Evidence Base for Large Scale Water Efficiency Project shows that for over 600 schools which have had similar work done average savings of about 20% in water consumption have been achieved.


83 schools in the Sutton and Croydon areas have now signed up to the Learn2Save scheme and have had audits carried out. The aim is to install water efficient kits in 100 school in Sutton and East Surrey Water's area.

school bathrooms sinks learn2save


Checkmark Awards

The first Checkmarks have been awarded to some very deserving winners.


Combisave – a thermostatically operated valve installed on the hot water outlet of a combi boiler. At low temperatures the valve is closed, restricting flow, as the temperature increases the valve opens allowing hot water through. It saves water by limiting the amount of waste water generated. Manufactured in the UK it's already on the UK market. Water savings vary but independent tests confirm an average of 8l each time the tap is turned on from cold.

LG Washing Machine Model F1495BDS - a 7.3l per kg water usage washing machine with a 12Kg capacity (standard washing machine is around 7kg), A+++ Energy rated, this model has also been awarded the EST recommended label.

LG Dishwasher Model D1454BF - using 9l per wash, this large 14 place setting dishwasher has an A++ energy rating. It comes with a range of steam-generated programmes to tackle baked-on stains without the need for preliminary rinsing. You can easily wash large and small items, including cutlery, espresso cups and untensils in the handy third rack. 

waterwise checkmark water efficient products


Survey on Save Water Swindon

In 2010 Thames Water, WWF and Waterwise joined forces to help limit the amount of water taken from Swindon's local environment by setting up Save Water Swindon, Britain's first ever single town campaign. The project aims to build understanding of the connection between water use and the local water environment and encourage the community to use less water. The campaign offers advice on water-saving behaviours, as well as free water saving home makeovers or water efficiency products for residents to install themselves.


The first phase of Save Water Swindon is currently being evaluated, and we would like to hear your views on what you would like to know about the project. Please help the evaluation process by taking part in our 1 minute survey.

kennet wetlands swindon survey wwf waterwise thames water


Dry Britain this winter


Parts of the UK are currently suffering drought and it looks like there will be continued stress on water resources in the coming months


Even though the summer was a disappointment in terms of sunshine it was relatively dry and hot. As well, the autumn has been very dry and record-breakingly warm. This adds problems to a 2011 that had the driest spring in a century. In fact, of the last 19 months, 15 have had below average rainfall.


1 October is the start of the hydrological year, and the period until 1 March (the middle of the hydrological new year) is when underground rocks are supposed to be replenished with rainwater and reservoirs recharged. At present, in many parts of the UK, this is just not happening.


All across the UK water companies are making preparations for a dry 2012. But we can all help by using water wisely. For a list of tips go to our Quick Tips page.

dry britain snowy river


Waterwise out and about

Last week Jacob gave a lecture to the Engineering Msc at University College London on the future of water resources and the role of water efficiency.


At the start of November Jacob gave a lecture on water efficiency in the UK at the École nationale des ponts et chaussées, as part of the EU Athens week. Mid-month Ryan was in Malta participating in the @qua network in mid-November, Ike was in Brussels at the Water Efficiency in Buildings stakeholder conference at the European Commission, speaking on potential policy options for water efficiency in buildings at the European level.


Waterwise were at the Water Efficiency in Buildings stakeholder conference at the European Commission in Brussels yesterday, speaking on potential policy options for water efficiency in buildings at the European level. 

footprints on brick flickr user Sanctu


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