Campaign to tackle St Albans district’s water use and help protect Ver and Colne chalk streams

Karen Snook's daughter with one of the chalk sketches encouraging St Albans residents to save 10 litres of water a day.

Karen Snook's daughter with one of the chalk sketches encouraging St Albans residents to save 10 litres of water a day. - Credit: Archant

Water consumption in the St Albans district is higher than almost anywhere else in the UK, putting a massive drain on rare local chalk streams.

Findings by Affinity Water show each person uses about 150 litres a day, 10 litres more than the UK average.

This is affecting the Rivers Ver and Colne, which are under threat from high levels of water extraction.

Now residents are being urged to save 10 litres of water each daily, leaving one million extra in the environment - roughly two minutes of the tap on full - as part of the #save10aday campaign.

Jake Rigg, director of corporate affairs and communities for Affinity Water said: “We’re asking everyone in St Albans district to save 10 litres of water a day. We’ve made it really easy. All you need to do is sign up at for your free water-saving kit. Simply install it and you’ll be saving water, protecting the River Ver and reducing local carbon emissions.

“We don’t know exactly why St Albans’ water usage is high but we’re determined to work with our customers to reduce it. If every household joins in and installs a kit, together we’ll save a huge one million litres a day!”

St Albans MP Daisy Cooper is backing the campaign: ”Residents in St Albans often ask me what more they can do to tackle the climate crisis so I’m really pleased to support this ‘save 10 a day’ campaign as a practical step that every household can take. 

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“The River Ver and Colne are two of only 200 precious chalk streams in the world. Yet they are under threat from climate change and the high levels of local water usage. 

“Now we can all do our bit to help protect this valuable asset for future generations by reducing our water consumption. I will be doing my bit both in Parliament and at home to return our precious rivers to their former glory.”

Council leader Cllr Chris White, portfolio holder for climate, environment and transport said: “I’m surprised that the district’s water consumption is above the national average, given the huge support there is here for environmental action. This is an important campaign that gives our residents the chance to do something about it and I’m sure they will commit to it. I will be signing up to it to get my free water saving kit with the aim of saving 10 litres of water a day and I urge everyone else to do so.”

Chalk artist Zoe Andrews has been promoting the campaign with pavement sketches in Harpenden and Verulamium Park showing different mammals, birds, insects and fish living in the Ver chalk stream: “My business started during lockdown with the aim of bringing joy and community spirit in a time of need, so it feels great to be able to do something not only to bring the community together once again but to also help the local environment at the same time.”

Karen Snook, who runs St Albans Mums Facebook group is one of 600 people who have already signed up: “I’m so excited about this campaign, it’s perfectly in line with our community ethos. We’ve signed up to - it was so easy my 14-year-old did it for us.

“It’s so interesting looking at where in our home we use the most water and how we compare to the national average. I’ve ordered our water saving kit and my kids have pledged to turn off the tap when they brush their teeth and be quicker in the shower. They really love that by saving water they’re raising money for local charities and their school.”

The campaign aims to raise £10,000 for six local charities which will be selected by supporters. Share your photos of the chalk trail using the tag #save10aday and Affinity Water will add another £1 to its charity fund for every post.