In our fourth blog exploring the products and services the UK consumer of 2030 could be using, we imagine how two consumers of the future - Serena Patel and her daughter Zainab, 13 – could be using water in twenty years’ time…
Serena, can you tell us how the way you use water has changed since you were young?
Serena: There’s less of it! Well, not so much that we don’t have enough water but that you certainly think a lot more about how you use it. For one it’s a lot more expensive. A while back not everyone had a water meter but now it’s compulsory – so that people who use less can get money knocked off their council tax. I think it’s a good idea – but hard for people with big families, especially now more people are house sharing with house prices being so high.
Zainab: Older people complain loads about having to save water but for me it’s crazy to think that you used to flush your toilet and water your garden with water from the tap! You just don’t need to anymore, and I’d totally prefer to use my water credits having a bath than waste it flushing the loo.
Serena: She’s right, we do moan! But to be fair, there’s a lot of stuff to help you save water now compared to before. A few years ago we had two summer droughts in a row, and that was pretty tough, with the afternoon switch-off for a few months, so when the water company offered the chance to rent a waterless washing machine, and part exchange our old one, we jumped at it.
What’s a waterless washing machine?
Zainab: It’s basically a washing machine where you can do like 100 baskets of washing with the same amount of water as you would doing one load with our old machine. So it saves you money and the water company just upgrades it if it breaks down instead of you having to buy a new one.
Serena: Yes, so we pay a monthly fee instead of having to fork out for a new one which is a relief, because they cost a fortune these days. We do that with quite a few things now – our car, lighting, fridge – it makes it easier for you to budget as you know what you’re going to be spending every month. Before we got it we had already installed all the water saving devices we could, but with a house as old as ours there’s only so much you can do.
Zainab: Plus we wash less stuff now anyway with our sun-fabrik clothes. Mum hates them though, don’t you Mum?
Serena: Well, I think it’s great that you can get clothes now that self-clean in the sun but I don’t quite trust it. How do you know they’re really clean? I’m a bit old fashioned like that – it took me a while to get used to the waterless washing machine – but when I got the lower water bill I changed my mind!
Read the other blogs in the Which? Series: