Welcome to the newsletter from ech2o consultants keeping you informed of all things water!

Welcome to the autumn 2016 newsletter

Welcome to the latest issue of our award winning newsletter. Almost sneaked into the September deadline. It was a toss-up between meeting it or waiting for our new website to be launched, and the chance to post (hope you are all sitting down…) three new water round the world blogs! So we chose the latter. As ever we hope you all enjoy it, find the contents useful, inspirational or just plain fun and keep those comments, suggestions, messages etc. coming in.

New ech2o website launched!
Frankie the flamingo and the gets knocked off top slot as we launch our new website. We think it’s great and hopefully you will too. Much easier to navigate around and lots of new pictures on every page.

Big thanks to Paul Liptrot at Trotty Designs who designed our original website back in 2005 and has been looking after it ever since. Paul is devoting more and more time to his other career as an artist. One of the really interesting things he does is work with ice – as he says he is an artist who doesn’t use paint.

Flamingo shopping corner

Thanks to those of you who are busy scouring to send us through links to where we can buy flamingo stuff - though in an idea world you would then send us the actual thing after having splashed the cash!  Anne from Watermatic and Angela from the Environment Agency suggested this Frankie watering can. Jim (Aunty) is going to make us some flamingo curtains - not sure how Cullinan studios will cope with that - and Adam from the RIBA suggested a 40’ blow up flamingo (though sadly neither of us can now find the link!). 


Washing machines and 30 degree wash cycles

This article was written in October 2014 and we stumbled across it in a somewhat random way but it’s interesting and still relevant.
Since the mid-80s improvements in the environmental performance of washing machines (basically less water to heat) have reduced the energy intensity of any given wash. At the same time, there were several high-profile campaigns that urged consumers to ‘turn to 30’. Both of these factors have brought about reductions in the energy used by washing machines in the UK, from 268 kilowatt hours for the average household in the mid-1980s to 166 kilowatt hours in 2012.
So far so good you would think… But the same period has seen a massive spike in the overall energy used in laundering clothes!! Not only are people using washing machines more frequently than ever before - the average UK household now puts a wash through about five times per week, according to a report by the Energy Saving Trust – thus negating a lot of the efficiency gains, but there has been a sharp increase in the use of tumble dryers. Current estimates suggest that up to 81% of washes are followed by a drying cycle and although there have been modest improvements in their environmental performance, tumble dryers remain enormously energy intensive.
Read more about research to change the behaviour around washing clothes that aren’t actually dirty here.

Free water workshops for London schools!

Thames Water’s fabulous Water Efficiency in Schools Programme is now in its third year. Read more about it here and if you would like your school to be involved just email us on . First come, first served and limited availability so don’t delay.

'Please stop flushing tampons down toilets' says Clarence the crab

It’s a very bad idea. When it rains they can be washed into rivers and the sea via combined sewer overflows. Even if it doesn’t rain, they cause problems at the sewage treatment plant. Just bag them and bin them! Read more here.

WatEf’s conference

Cath (and Frankie the flamingo!) had a great couple of days in early September at the WatEf conference. Cath delivered the results of ech2o’s research on adolescents and showering. (You can also download the accompanying paper). While Frankie looked after the book stand and made some good contacts. To download the many and varied research papers presented at the conference, just go here   

WatEf blogs

The WatEf network was set up to bridge the gap between academia and industry and ensure the free flow of information between the two. Their monthly blog continues to excite with four new WatEf blogs about water, people and communities. Does water unite or divide us, water use and water efficiency in Egyptian villages, new research on why people drink bottled water, and a philosophical blog about whether the term ‘water efficiency’ is the best motivator for consumers to save water.  All well worth reading, as usual.  


A year of showering variously - the best blog about showering in the world

In July Cath was showering in a post Brexit world explaining exactly who provides the water and energy for our showers.  In August she investigated Poolgate (what else?), and had another cold shower before a dip in the natural pool in Kings Cross. And in September, she was under a carbon free shower with her passport by her side, ever alert for the emergency evacuation siren!


Eric the earbud with Clarence the crab in Eric the earbud asks…


Leaky loos

According to recent research by Thames Water 4-5% of all households have a leaky loo, which can waste as much as 400 litres of water a day. Read Cath’s recent water column about why she thinks internal overflows have led to the wastage of water from failing ballvalves. 

Is this the smallest toilet ever?

‘After 2 years of running up & down stairs carrying an increasingly heavy infant every time I needed the loo, I decided enough was enough. With toilet training looming on the horizon, installing a downstairs loo seemed a sensible option. But where to put it? Pretty much the only suitable place was the boiler cupboard as the waste pipe peeped into the corner and whilst it also did under the stairs, there simply wasn't the headspace under there. So the cupboard it was. To not flush with drinking water I considered using rainwater harvesting from a tank in the loft, but the head needed for the crucial macerator unfortunately ruled it out. Determined to minimise drinking water use, I remembered a toilet with a hand basin integrated into the cistern I'd seen a few years back during a watery trip to Japan; hand washing water is reused for flushing. A bit of Googling later, then a chat with the plumber and one was ordered. You can see the end result in the picture - it may be weeny, but it's water saving and saves a lot of rushing upstairs!’
Sarah’s photo makes it actually seem quite roomy given there are no issues with headroom as per the usual understairs set up… So we got her to give us the actual footprint of the loo and its 1m by 0.7 m, so… can anyone out there beat that?


YouTube corner

Some great videos of rats swimming, squeezing through impossibly small holes and yes, of course, turning up in your toilet bowl! 

Image of the month 
If a picture paints a thousand words then an infographic must be worth ten times that many!



Poetry corner – RIP

Nothing from Carol Ann Duffy so … Goodbye poetry corner. You were great while you lasted.

Water around the world

Finally! Another blog! In fact, another three blogs! No wonder smiley poo face is looking so happy.
So we have Suzanne Armsden giving us an extended version of her WatEf blog about water use and water efficiency in Egyptian villages, whilst Féidhlim Harty blogs about the forthcoming EPA Code of Practice and what effect it will have on domestic scale wastewater treatment in Ireland. And the third blog is also about water – of course- but with a bit of twist. Valentina Marincioni explains how water vapour moves around within walls and how that leads to mould on the surface of walls in our homes.
Remember, we are always looking for new posts so if you want to write about any aspect of water supply, use or sanitation in your own country (UK included) just drop an email to  with a brief synopsis about what you want to write about and we will get back to you to bite your arm off!

ech2o technical blog

A new page on our website! Currently populated by the always detailed, always eclectic AECB blog, this is where we will be posting technical stuff that Cath has written.

More ideas to get you out of the shower quicker

We like this idea – the Waitek shower monitor from Australia. Once you’ve been in the shower for longer than 9 minutes it starts to make a beeping sound. You can only stop the noise by switching the shower off for at least two minutes.


Read Cath’s shower blog to find out the definitive answer to Tom Daley’s tweet.

The mysterious case of the sinking flamingo – coming to a cinema near you soon!

But while we wait for that, thanks to EC1 Bathrooms and RegenMedia  you can now watch the story in sound (by Cath) and vision (Jon Evans). Its eight minutes and eight seconds of general fabness, with the added bonus of hard technical information about combined sewer overflows!

Remember you can buy the book through Amazon and we will donate the tax that Aamazon should have paid to WaterAid. Or you can order direct through us (which is cheaper). Just email us on and we will send you an invoice. Book is £5.99 plus £1.50 postage and packing direct from us. You can read a great review of the book by Adam Vaughan of Tracing Green if you haven’t yet.

Loads more Frankie the flamingo stuff here, including fun worksheets for follow up work.


@CathHassell – Follow Cath on Twitter

As she says in her twitter blurb: Likes: plumbing, cycling, cricket and India. Will only tweet about water and toilets though. She has pretty much kept to that promise if you count all plumbing as either water or toilets. If you want to see what you missed go here or start to follow her.


Last but not least

If this is the first time you are reading one of our newsletters, don’t forget that all earlier versions are available here. Full of links to technical downloads as well as random water stuff. 


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