Cumbria Times
Weekend Edition
9:31 AM 22nd March 2021

Young People’s Eco Efforts Don’t Translate To Water Saving

A national survey by Yorkshire Water reveals generational differences in attitudes towards environmentally friendly practices ahead of World Water Day.

Despite more than 80% of 18–24-year-olds describing themselves as environmentally conscious, attitudes don’t fully translate when it comes to water. Only 51% of the age group said saving water is a priority for them. They are also more likely to shower multiple times a day than any other age group – with one in 10 saying they regularly do so, and another one in 10 enjoying at least one bath a day (that’s the equivalent of 29,200 litres a year!).

Although the earth is commonly named the ‘blue planet’ – less than 1% of the earth’s fresh water is actually available for use, as around 90% is contained in the Antarctic ice sheet.

A speech by James Beavan, chief executive of the Environment Agency, in 2019, described the impact that climate change is having on the available fresh water, saying that:
“by 2050, the amount of water available could be reduced by 10-15%, with some rivers seeing 50-80% less water during the summer months”.

Reducing water consumption helps the environment in a number of ways – by reducing demand, the amount of carbon used in the treatment process will automatically be lower, and by using less during warm months, it means there is more to go around, so water companies don’t need to rely on finding additional supply from the environment.

People over the age of 50 are most likely to adopt water saving habits to reduce their environmental impact, such as using the eco setting on a dishwasher or washing machine, or reusing bath water to feed plants. Whilst young people are more likely to take public transport or reduce their meat consumption.

Overall, the top reasons people feel it’s important to save water are:
It requires a lot of energy to collect, treat and distribute it 51%
It can save you money 49%
Warm weather can mean there's less to go around 48%

Neil Dewis, director of water service delivery at Yorkshire Water, said:
“Most people know that saving water is a good habit to have – but not everyone understands why or how they can easily save water. By reducing your time in the shower (we’d always recommend a four minute shower where possible!) or popping your machine on an eco setting, you can really make a big difference to the amount of water you consume.

“It is great to see that young people are so passionate about the environment and the impact they have on it. Reducing water consumption is another way to reduce your footprint, along with other well adopted habits like recycling and reusing materials.”