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Are Water Butts a waste of money or not?

Many people look at different ways to save money on their bills and one such method is by reducing your water bill (especially those on a water meter) by installing a water butt to collect rain water from your house or shed roof via the down pipes.

The question is is using a water butt a financially beneficial practice or not?
First off, if you can get a free water butt from somewhere then you are on to a winner, some councils or water companies do sometimes give away water butts or may offer them at hugely discounted prices to encourage people to make use of the free rainwater that falls down.

Rough calculations:

Cost of a 200 litre water butt = £25
Cost of 1000 litres (1 cubic metre) of water through the tap: £1.50
Cost of sewerage for the 1000 litres of water through the tap: £1.00

So based on the above 1000 litres of water will cost around £2.50 (£1.50 water+ £1.00 sewerage).

A 200 litre water butt would need to be filled and emptied 5 times to use 1000 litres of water or £2.50 worth of water through the tap.
£25 (the cost of the water butt) divided by £2.50 (the cost of 1,000 litres of water through the tap) = 10.

So it would take 10 x 5 = 50 times for the water butt to be filled and emptied to “break even” with the cost of what it would in water.
Realistically it is going to take a good number of years to get through that much water by using a water butt (even if you optimistically used 10 full fills per year it would mean you would need the water butt for 5 years to break even), however if you do look after your water butt and keep it in regular working order then over the long time it would work out as financially beneficial over the long term.

Although perhaps the financially viable angle may take a bit of time to work out beneficial with a water butt the moralistic and “green” angle that using a water butt provides is the perhaps biggest side to look at for what is a relatively small outlay.
Saving water is hugely important, many places are nearing drought conditions and have hosepipe bans in place. If everyone used a water butt throughout the year then that could help save many millions of gallons of water that are needed.


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