On 23rd April 2007, Water Group Promotions, in conjunction with Waterwise and
Ripple Products, organised a giveaway of 5,000 four-minute shower timers. The
giveaway was promoted on GMTV. In return for their free shower timer we asked
claimants to answer two questions:
29% of people said they had a water meter fitted. This closely matches the 28%
of homes in England and Wales that have a meter fitted, suggesting that our
survey received responses from a good cross-section of the nation.
The results indicate a measurable difference in shower use between metered and
unmetered customers. In brief, people without a water meter, or who don't know
if they have one, so presumably aren't troubled by how much their showers cost
them, take longer showers than those whose water supply is metered.
38% of our respondents without meters, or who don't know if they have one, take
10 minutes or longer in the shower, compared with just 28% of those with a
65% of our respondents without meters, or who don't know if they have one, take
5 minutes or longer in the shower, compared with 56% of those with a meter.
We worked out what it would mean if everyone limited their showers to no longer
than 4 minutes. This would mean that people who currently shower for 4 minutes
or less would not change their behaviour but those who shower for 5 or more
minutes would cut the time they spend to 4 minutes. For the purposes of our
analysis we used a figure of 11 minutes for everyone who said they spent more
than 10 minutes in the shower.
If a cross-section of 34,200 people showered for 4 minutes or less they would
together save 1,000,000 litres** of water a day. That's a saving of 45% of
all the water they previously used to shower.
If 1 million people across the country did the same – including those who
already shower for 4 minutes or less, so would not change the way they shower –
they would collectively save over 29,000,000 litres** a day.
Even if those people who currently shower for 5 minutes or more were persuaded
to cut their shower time by just 1 minute each, they would collectively save
12% of all the water that everyone had used previously.
There are further benefits to reducing the amount of time that people spend in
the shower. Few people shower in cold water – everyone else spends money to
heat the water they use. By cutting shower times they would also cut their
** Based on a shower flow rate of 9l/minute.
People were asked how long they took when they showered. They were able to
choose from 11 answers ranging from "about 1 minute" to "longer than 10
minutes". Of course, few people actually time themselves, but we phrased the
answers "about x minutes" to try to make it clear that a certain degree
of subjectivity was acceptable.
The responses, below, showed significant peaks at 5 minutes and 10 minutes.
Overall, 35% (more than 1 in 3) of the respondents said they showered for 10
minutes or more.
The figures below show the responses received from people who reported they had
a water meter.
Overall, they showered for less time than the average – and as we shall see, for
considerably less time than people who do not have a shower timer, or who don't
know whether they do.
The number of people showering for 10 minutes or longer has gone down to 28%.
This is still a large percentage, but smaller than the 35% of all respondents
As these figures show, people without a water meter, or who don't know if they
have one, take longer showers on average than those whose water supply is
Our respondents reported that 38% of them take 10 minutes or longer in the
shower, compared with 28% of those with a meter.