Rethinking daily water habits to cut water waste 

How much water do you use each day? Probably more than you think. Research shows that each of us uses around 150 litres of water every day on washing, cleaning, and cooking, yet 2 in 3 of us don't think we can use less, despite admitting to habits like leaving the tap running when cleaning teeth. 

Despite its rainy reputation, the South East of England receives a lot less rain than you might think – around the same as Melbourne, Australia.  

Faced with population growth and increasingly erratic weather patterns, we need a major culture shift in how we use water to avoid future water shortages, not just in the South East, but across the UK. One of the biggest challenges is that most of our water use happens in private spaces at home, so it’s hard to know how we compare. 


Shifting how we value water and nudging behaviour 

The campaign, #TapChatfirst launched in September 2017 in partnership with Affinity Water. The aim? To spark conversation that uncovers hidden water use and shift how we value water. We invited people to join the #TapChat to compare habits and find simple ways to use less water relevant for their lifestyle.  

The campaign included a playful quiz and short videos provoking discussion and encouraging people to consider changing behaviors to use less water. We also ran a series of seasonal campaigns providing people with relevant advice on everything from protecting your pipes from freezing in cold weather, to staying cool in heatwaves, and how to keep your garden looking fresh without spending too much water (or time). We trialled #TapChat at the University of Hertfordshire, testing ways of engaging students in water saving. Here are the findings

A huge barrier to changing behaviors is the perception that it rains all the time in the UK. To bust the myth that water is in abundance, we created videos to show how water reaches our taps and the impact taking too much water can have on rivers. 

To bring the #
TapChat to people’s doorstep we ran community engagement campaigns in water stressed areas of Sutton, Dorking, St Albans, Harlow, Watford, Luton and Tanstead, filling high streets and railway stations with playful adverts that use humor to highlight everyday activities where we really value water, such as in your coffee and when cooking pasta. 

To help people visualise how much water is used for different everyday actions, we created a #TapChat mock home antook it to high footfall locations, inviting people to interact with the different actions and take away products designed to help reduce water use such as shower timers, save-a-flush bags, dry shampoo and washing up bowl. 


The difference made 

To date, Tap Chat has got the UK curious about its water use habits and has sparked conversation. The campaign has gained over 389 pieces of coverage, generating 311 million opportunities to see. 

The social media campaign has reached 4.5 million people and more than 16 000 people have dived into our water savvy tips. 

7,800 people have completed the #TapChat Quiz to find out what kind of water user they are and get bespoke advice suitable for their lifestyle.  

We’ve had great chats with people about their hidden water habits and have provided more than 4,700 people with water saving products such as shower timers, save-a-flush bags, dry shampoo and washing up bowls. 

You can read more about our research in our press release and our blog.

How can you get involved? 

As the weather gets warmer, we've teamed up with Affinity Water to run a clever gardening campaign giving people the tools they need to make the most of water in their garden now, and in the future by planting drought tolerant plants. Follow the #TapChat hashtag to join the conversation and click here to read more about the benefits of climate-friendly gardening. 

If you’re interested in collaborating on spreading the #TapChat then please get in touch at [email protected]  

With thanks to Affinity Water, SES Water, Affinity for Business, Fulcrum, University of Hertfordshire and Unite Students for collaborating with us on the campaign.