It’s easy to become disconnected from our rivers and see them as mere bodies of water in the landscape. Yet rivers are not only living ecosystems that support myriad flora and fauna, they are key to the health of us humans too. When we turn on a tap, be it for drinking or washing, it is the river that flows out.


A running tap might imply there is an endless supply of water, but there isn’t. The Environment Agency has warned that within 25 years England will not have enough water to meet demand. This is because of climate change (bringing more extreme weather), population growth, and the (mis)management of our resources.


Water saving is at the heart of our Rivers2U education programme which we take out to schools across the region. Many of our current projects, also focus on working with landowners to enable rivers and landscapes to retain more water. Natural Flood Management (NFM), incorporating scrapes, leaky dams, tree planting and the management of non-native invasive species (INNS) helps to slow the flow and retain water where it is needed – as well as helping to mitigate flooding.


Your water footprint

While only 10% of freshwater is used in our homes, we draw on vast amounts for industry (20%) and agriculture (70%).


To ensure there is a plentiful supply of clean, fresh water for generations to come, we all need to think carefully about the water we use, both directly and indirectly. The less water we use, the more water remains available in the environment for wildlife and ourselves for the generations to come.


Some tips to save water are below, more suggestions can be found on Waterwise, the leading independent voice in the UK for using water wisely.


Top tips for saving water....


  • A full dishwasher on an eco setting is more efficient than washing by hand. Simply scrape and load – no need to pre-rinse for modern machines.
  • When rinsing vegetables or fruit, fill a bowl with water instead of leaving the tap running.
  • Only fill the kettle with as much water as you need to save both water and energy.
  • It takes a lot of water to produce our food but millions of tonnes of it is wasted each year. Aim to eat locally and seasonally and don’t throw away food unless you have to. More guidance can be found at Love Food Hate Waste .


  • Skip baths and take a quick shower instead. Aim for 4 minutes or less.
  • To avoid pipe blockages, only flush the 3Ps – pee, poo and paper down the loo.
  • Remember to turn off the tap while cleaning your teeth.
  • A leaky loo can waste up to 400 litres of water per day. To detect a leak add a few drops of food colouring to your toilet cistern and don’t flush for an hour. If the food colouring is in the toilet bowl after an hour you have a leak – time to call a plumber!


  • Water butts are great. As well as holding rainwater which can help to prevent flooding, they are a free means to water your lawn.
  • Think about planting drought resistant species which don’t need watering. The RHS have some great suggestions.
  • Use bark or mulch to help to reduce evaporation.

Clothing and Technology

The clothing and technology industries are very water intensive. Consider buying items second hand and repairing or refurbishing whenever possible.