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New smart tech rolled out to tackle water waste

It's 2050, and rising sea levels are engulfing Britain's shorelines, biting chunks from its green and pleasant land.

But for inhabitants of this shrinking archipelago, it's not an excess of water that concerns them — rather, it's the lack of it.

This is the scary future envisioned by the Environment Agency, which has warned that Britain could face serious freshwater shortages by 2050.

A growing population, combined with the impacts of climate change, are placing mounting strain on the country's water supply. And unless a solution is found, the UK could face severe and escalating water stress.

In the face of such dystopian visions, water companies across the UK are trialing smart home technology solutions to help reduce water waste. The Environment Agency estimates a third of the water used daily by an average family is lost through leaks rather than conscious usage.

Leading smart meter developer Hive revealed last week that it is working with Anglian, Northumbrian and South East Water to run pilots for a new technology, which monitors water lost as a result of everyday plumbing problems such as dripping taps and leaking toilets.

In the face of such dystopian visions, water companies across the UK are trialing smart home technology solutions to help reduce water waste.
The pilot will see Hive Leak Sensors installed in thousands of homes, where they will automatically detect unusual flow levels through the mains pipe, alerting homeowners via an app notification so any issues can be quickly addressed. The sensors detect anomalies based on the temperature of the water pipes and can monitor the smallest of water flows — even a drip or two over a few seconds.

"Without technology it is extremely difficult for us to find a leak or recognize where water is being lost or wasted in our homes," said John Gutch, Head of Product at Hive Leak Sensor. "But based on the data we have already seen from our sensors, we predict that if just 30 percent of all homes in the UK used technology to monitor their own waterflow, it would reduce the number of reported leaks from 2.3 million to 540,000 over a year. This is pretty astonishing and could help the nation seriously reduce its water wastage."

An average person uses around 140 liters of water a day, the equivalent of two full baths, according to stats from agency Waterwise. But a leaking toilet can waste as much as 400 liters of clean drinking water per day.

A running tap uses approximately six liters of water a minute, but bad habits — such as running the tap while brushing teeth — can waste up to 25 liters a minute.

The government is seeking to drive awareness of water waste, setting an ambitious target for the nation to reduce its water consumption by 50 percent by 2021.

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