Taps off for teeth

Taps off for teeth


It’s fair to say that we take fresh, clean water for granted here in the UK, after all it’s available on tap…literally! We don’t always appreciate that fresh water is a precious, scarce resource that we should cherish.

A combination of climate change, an increasing population, plus a massively increased demand for fresh water for domestic, industrial and agricultural use means that our supplies are dwindling fast.

Did you know that the average person in the UK uses around 142 litres of water per day, compared with 85 litres back in the 1960s? That’s a huge increase, putting a strain on our supplies.

If you look at the population of our catchment (161,268 in 2018 according to the Office for National Statistics) then we use 8,360 BILLION litres of water per year – taken from Eden’s reservoirs, river systems and underground aquifers.

Don’t forget that Haweswater also supplies drinking water to the good people of Greater Manchester as well!

It only takes a couple of dry spells (and we bet that some recent ones spring to mind) for there to be water shortages and newspaper headlines about hosepipe bans.

When reservoirs run low, water companies apply for licences to take water (abstract) from Eden’s rivers and lakes, reducing water levels. If river levels are already low, this can destroy habitat and put wildlife at peril.

We all must use water wisely to ensure that people and wildlife can continue to survive and thrive.

Turning off the tap when you brush your teeth will not only save up to 12 litres of water (United Utilities' estimate) but also save you money and save the energy and chemicals needed to treat that water – it’s a win-win situation!

If that hasn’t convinced you, just think – if you turn off the tap every time you brush (the NHS recommends that we brush our teeth twice a day for 2 minutes), you’ll save 8,760 litres of water per year – wow!

You have the power to turn off the tap!

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

You can do it

Here's how


Time trial

Make brush time fun for kids by ordering a free 2-minute ‘toothy timer’ from United Utilities to help them brush and keep the tap off for the right amount of time.

Ditch the rinse

The NHS recommends that you don’t rinse your teeth immediately after brushing as it dilutes and reduces the preventative effects of fluoride toothpaste.


Give plastics the brush off

Take it further and swap your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo or fully recyclable toothbrush (becoming more widely available in supermarkets).Try an eco-toothpaste which has no sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or plastic polymers in it.

Take it further: catch every drop

Don’t stop at tooth brushing! When you turn the hot tap on, place a bowl/jug underneath the catch the cold water. You can then use this to water your plants, or elsewhere around the house./span>


Join the growing number of people who are making a promise to Act for Eden and make yours today to turn the taps off for teeth!

Taps off for teeth

I promise to turn the

Taps off for teeth

and get the water-saving habit!

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U.N. Sustainable Development Goals

The action that you’re taking as part of Act for Eden will not just make a difference in your local river and community, it will help transform the world!

This promise has been carefully chosen to meet one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These are a set of 17 goals set out by the United Nations to  focus efforts around the world in order to “achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.” (UN SDG website)Although major actions are needed by governments, cities and local authorities, it starts with each and every one of us. By keeping your promise to Act for Eden, you are already living and working more sustainably - which is great news for our planet.

You‘ll also be part of a growing community of like-minded people who together, are leading by example and generating a force for change, able to push those in authority to make the transformations required.

All this just by turning off the tap every time you brush your teeth. Now that's worth showing off your pearly whites and smiling about!


Who are Eden Rivers Trust?

We are an environmental charity based in the beautiful Eden Valley in Cumbria, England. We’re passionate about having healthy, natural rivers that are better places for people and wildlife.  Find out more about how we’re rethinking rivers for good on our website.