Save water with a watchamacallit

People in Bury St Edmunds are being offered the chance to have a variety of water-saving devices fitted in their homes, for free. But what looks like a bucket of bits and bobs could turn out to be a money saver for cost-conscious households.

Anglian Water is kicking off a major water saving scheme in the Suffolk market town of Bury St Edmunds. The initiative is aimed at reducing the amount of water used there as part of a region-wide campaign to boost water efficiency. The water company has written to all its customers in the area, offering them a whatchamacallit, a gizmo, a wotsit and a thingy.

But the offer isn’t as cryptic as it first appears!

“We want people to know that you don’t need to be a plumber or a DIY expert to save water,” said Anglian Water’s Ciaran Nelson. “Many people wouldn’t dare touch the plumbing in their homes, and I don’t blame them!

“Thankfully, the water saving kit, which is absolutely free, comes with a qualified plumber to fit the products. While they’re fitting these gadgets, they’ll also do a free leak check, to make sure that water isn’t going to waste.”

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The campaign encourages people to use less water without even noticing. Anyone living in the region can check the Anglian Water website to see if they’re eligible for a free visit from a plumber.

“We’re targeting Bury St Edmunds at the moment because it’s officially classed as water-stressed,” explained Ciaran. “But anyone in the east of England can check to see if they’re eligible to receive the free products.

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“The first you’ll notice is when you receive a water bill. Assuming you’re using a meter to measure your water, your bill is likely to have dropped.

“And because you are heating less water, your energy bills are likely to fall, too.”

Why do we need to save water?

At just 600 millimetres a year, our average rainfall is a third less than the rest of England.

“Some areas get less rain each year than Jerusalem,” said Ciaran. “We’re always either moaning about the rain or debating when the next downpour will hit us, but the truth is that we don’t have very much of it here.”

Demand for water is growing, too. The regional population is on the up, with the number of new homes forecast to reach one million by 2035.

“It’s vital everybody understands just how precious water is and does their bit to use only what they really need,” said Ciaran.

Watch your

water footprint

On average, each person in the east of England uses about 145 litres of water every single day.

In households fitted with meters, less water is generally consumed. Over the last decade, and across the whole of the country, unmetered household water consumption has risen to 150 litres per person per day. At the same time, homes with meters fitted have reduced their consumption to, on average, just 127 litres per person per day.

But water saving isn’t the whole story. Where there’s water, there’s carbon, too – and quite a bit of it.

“Every bath, flush or glug has carbon dioxide built into it, because of all the treatment processes it takes to get it to the tap,” says Ciaran. “So using less water is good news for carbon emissions, too.”

To find out what your water footprint is, visit

To check if you qualify for a free visit from a plumber to fit some water saving devices for free, telephone 0800 9755 567, or visit

What’s in the box?

The whatchamacallit

If this is compatible with your toilet, fitting it will reduce the amount of drinking water that you flush down the toilet by 50%. Technically it’s called an “Ecobeta dual flush”, but we prefer to think of it as the water-saving whatchamacallit that lives in the cistern. On average, an unconverted toilet flushes away nine litres of water every time it’s used!

The shiny wotsit

By fitting this to your kitchen tap, you’ll be using 70% less water when you turn on the tap. That’s a big saving from a tiny product! It’s designed so you won’t notice the difference – apart from the impact it has on your bill. Not every tap can handle a shiny wotsit, but the plumber will be able to check, and fit one for free if your taps are compatible.

The circular gizmo

Our research tells us that you could save up to �44 on your utility bills with this clever bit of kit. It’s called an “E.ON Showersave”, and – just like its kitchen-living cousin, the shiny wotsit – it reduces the amount of water flowing through the shower head without making your shower any less enjoyable! It could reduce your water consumption by up to 12 cubic metres a year. Combine that with the energy saved by heating less water, and you’re quids-in.

The blue thingy

Your plants will thank you for installing one of these as well. It’s a hosepipe gun that can save regular gardeners hundreds of litres of water. Hose guns are much better at showering water evenly on the garden, giving plants more of what they need, and less of a soaking than a blast from a hosepipe. You can even leave it unattended without wasting water. Welcome the gun, and banish the sprinkler from your garden!

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