Not registered?

Register today

Hello. Sign in.

My Account

You are here : At Home > Corporate > News

Latest news

26 August 21

Brits admit they don’t know how to flush a toilet

Shocking new research conducted by the UK’s largest water-only supplier, Affinity Water, shows nearly three quarters of the nation are not completely sure how to flush a toilet correctly.

In a survey of 6,000 people, Affinity Water asked its customers how confident they were at identifying the half flush function when using an unfamiliar dual flush toilet – with a whopping 73% stating they weren’t completely confident.[1]

The new research further revealed that nearly a quarter (23%) of those asked to identify the half flush button on five different toilet systems got it wrong. It also found 33% of people do not use the water-saving function as much as possible. [1]

Affinity Water is urging the public to waste less water and protect the UK’s precious chalk streams after statistics show the company’s customers use 9% more water per person, per day than the national average. Despite this, Brits typically over-estimate their water-saving efforts, with more than half (59%) believing they use less water than the national average. [2]

These iconic natural gems are now at risk due to Britain’s unsustainably high demand for water. Affinity Water is calling on the British public to take action and Save Our Streams by saving 21 million litres per day (less than 10 litres per person, per day). By using the half flush button on a dual flush toilet, this target is easily achievable, with 3 litres of water saved on every flush.

Musical comedian Helen Arney, who performed alongside Sandi Toksvig and Mark Watson for Affinity Water’s official SOS: Save Our Streams campaign launch in May, wrote a song called ‘I don’t know how to flush a toilet’. She commented: “I actually had some people thanking me on Twitter for helping to demystify the dual flush phenomenon! Telling people exactly how to flush their toilet through the medium of song while standing in a stream has to be one of the most bizarre points of my career. But behind the laughter is a very serious message.

“Knowing how to flush your toilet correctly really is one of the small changes you can make right now to help Save Our Streams. If we don’t take this seriously, by 2025 we will have a shortfall of 43 million litres of water a day, which is actually a really sobering thought,” said Helen.

More than 120,000 Affinity Water customers have signed up to Save Our Streams since the critical campaign was launched in April, which is already delivering savings of over 3 million litres every day.

Jane Bellard, SOS Campaign Project Lead at Affinity Water, commented: “It is shocking that 20 years after the dual flush toilet first became popular in UK homes, almost a quarter of people still cannot identify which flush they need to use. We are literally flushing millions of litres of litres of clean water away every day in our area. Roughly a third of our personal water use goes on toilet flushing, and you can potentially halve it by only using the single flush button.

“The UK is home to 85% of the world’s 210 chalk streams. We need to treasure our water now for the precious and important resource that it is. Saving water at home will not only help us do this, it will support our efforts towards a zero-carbon future.”

You can watch the whole of Helen’s performance at Affinity Water’s Stand-up for Our Streams gig, here. Members of the public are urged to take action now and visit where, after answering a few questions about how they use water, they can gain access to their exact household’s water-use stats, a free water-saving kit plus free leak repairs and tailored advice via video calls.

News archive

Media enquiries

Our Communications team handles all media enquiries on behalf of Affinity Water and its employees.

Contact us on 01707 277 110 or email

Our office hours are 8am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

We are available for emergencies:
5pm to 7am, Monday to Friday
7am to 7pm, Weekends and public holidays
We aim to respond as soon as possible and within two hours.

Enable Recite