To minimise water wastage it is recommended that a tap over a hand wash basin flows at no more than 6 litres per minute. This provides all the functionality needed for this type of tap. It is ok to have a higher flow rate in kitchens or areas where a lot of water is required at one, for example to fill a bucket or kettle.
How to measure flow rate in your tap:
Turn your tap on full and run it into a bucket for 5 seconds.
Measure the amount of water and multiply by 12 to find the flow rate in litres per minute.
What are your options?
Depending on the type of tap there are different options to reduce its flow rate.
Installing an aerator: This option is only possible in modern mixer taps with a swivel handle, not older taps with two outlets for hot and cold water. If you have taps of the modern kind and the above test indicates they are running too high, an aerator is an easy and cheap solution to reducing the water usage without noticing a difference in pressure. An aerator consists of a small mesh screen that fits to the end of a faucet, and adds air into the flow of water. They reduce the volume of water flowing from the faucet without reducing the feeling of a high-pressure flow.
Upgrading taps: For clubs with old hand basin taps, consider installing mixer taps that can be fitted with water saving aerators. Look for the Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme (WELS) with three or more stars on the model. Plumbing World has a lot of options on hand for efficient models. For a club environment, the most efficient option are models that have timed push button controls.
If your water is metered, lowering the amount of water used in taps translates to direct money savings. But even if your water costs are included in your rates, you can reap financial benefits through water efficiency: the less water is used, the less water needs to be heated, thus reducing the cost of running your water heating system.
It is also important to consider upgrading your taps if they are leaking or are prone to not being shut off properly. Even a slow drip tap - one drop every few seconds- could add up to around 28 litres every day! You can perform a simple leak test by reading your water meter in the evening, and then using no water during the night. Check the meter in the morning and if there is a difference, you likely have a leak somewhere. Find out more about leaks here.