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    Desert island Britain

    As the sun continues to shine this summer Brits might be surprised to hear that although the nation suffered a winter of snow and floods, most parts of the country will soon be getting ready for a hosepipe ban.

    Although B&Q saw sales of hosepipes increase by 61% last week*, it seems that Brits will have to keep them dry for the moment as the ban becomes reality. Reservoirs in the North West have become so dry that this week water supplier United Utilities announced that they were applying for permission to use water from Ennerdale Water in Cumbria to supplement the lack of water up North. Current weather forecasts show a continued heat wave putting other water companies on alert for a hosepipe ban in a bid to save their water supply.

    Water economy is both environmentally and economically wise, especially with the current weather conditions. The daily water consumption of the UK is increasing with an average of 150 litres a day used by individuals each day in England and Wales, and the UK now has less water available per person than any other EU country apart from Belgium and Cyprus.

    Matt Sexton, Director for Social Responsibility at B&Q says: "With the hot weather looking to continue we really need to focus on preserving one of the earth's most valuable resources. There are lots of ways to cut the amount of water we use throughout the year both inside and outside the house, without making significant changes to our lifestyles. Simply installing a water butt or fitting a dual flush kit to the toilet can really make a difference."

    Here, B&Q, the UK's leading home improvement and garden centre retailer B&Q suggests how we can all do our bit and cut down on the amount of water we use in the house and garden.

    The Garden - Outdoor water accounts for around 7% of total water use but can rise to over 50% in the summer.

    • Wash patio furniture, bikes and other outdoor items on the lawn so you don't waste water.
    • Water plants and the garden in the morning or early evening to prevent evaporation in the heat of the day.
    • Use a mulch to lock in moisture and evaporation can be reduced by up to 75%. When applying check the soil is moist and apply a 50mm layer. All B&Q's chipped bark mulches are made from Forest Stewardship Council certified timber - this helps to ensure that the forest habitats are not damaged. Try B&Q's One Planet Home accredited moisture control organic mulch at £4.98 for 100 litres.
    • Water trees and shrubs along the drip line (below ends of branches) rather than near the trunk to help get water straight to the roots.
    • Switch from sprinklers to watering cans. This helps to target the water to exactly where it's needed (plant roots). Many of B&Q's watering cans are made from recycled plastic.
    • Store rainwater in a water butt such as B&Q's One Planet Home accredited Sankey Slim Space Saving Water butt for £29.98


    The Bathroom - The bathroom can account for nearly two thirds of all domestic water use and so is the easiest place to start saving.

    • Taking a shower can use about a third of the water of an ordinary bath. Cut down on the amount of water you use in the shower further by fitting the Mira Eco showerhead from B&Q priced from £29.98. This showerhead mixes water with air and uses up to 75% less water.
    • Install low flush, dual flush toilets such as B&Q's Aqua Sense reduced flush toilet priced £487. Dual flush kits for your toilet are also available priced from £19.98 and can save a family of four up to 20,000 litres of water a year.
    • Turning off taps when brushing teeth can save five litres of water a minute.
    • Fix leaking taps and fit aerators or spray ends to basin taps. A dripping tap can waste 15 litres of water a day, and a pack of washers costs as little as 42p. B&Q has also just launched Tapmagic priced £4.98, a dual flow tap adapter which can save water usage by up to 70%.

    The Kitchen

    • Dishwashers and washing machines account for around 16% of the total volume of water used in the household. Reduce the amount of water wasted by putting on a full load of washing/dishes rather than a half load wash.
    • Wash vegetables in a bowl rather than under a running tap.
    • Keep a jug of water in the fridge to stop running the tap until it gets cold.

    For further tips on water saving visit www.diy.com/savewater

    N.B. The information contained in this story is provided by the supplier and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of lets-do-diy.com.

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