As today is World Water Day, it's a timely reminder of our environmental responsibilities as landlords and multiple home owners to help preserve this precious resource.

From splashing out on dedicated water saving devices to tightening drippy taps, there are plenty of quick-fixes to achieving water efficiency at home and across your buy-to-let (BTL) portfolio.

But first, what is World Water Day and why should we pay attention? This international mandate was inspired by the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, where a global observance for water was recommended. Now firmly embedded on the UN calendar, this annual event sets a theme in parallel with the UN's work on water and sanitation worldwide.

2016's World Water Day theme - water and jobs - sits perfectly with BTL owners. With just a few simple and affordable modifications to fixtures and by educating tenats on water saving methods, landlords in the UK can have a real impact.

Saving and using water wisely is an important matter for BTL investors on both an environmental and economic level. And, if you have a number of tenants living in an HMO (House in Multiple Occupancy), implementing even the smallest water saving and efficiency measures across your portfolio can make a big difference and even save you and your tenants money.

Water difference a change makes

The first change you can make is to review your existing fixtures and track water usage in your property to measure where changes can have the most impact. Unexpected levels of water consumption could point to undetected leaks or inefficient facilities, which can be fixed quickly and cheaply.

By the time a tenant has spotted a leak, expensive water damage is likely to have occurred, so adding a leak check to your property maintenance schedule can help you make savings on much more than just your water bill.

Once you are satisfied everything is working as it should, it's time to update any facilities that have seen better days and are not working to their optimum efficiency.

Start in the bathroom, where 60% of a household's water consumption takes place. Just switching your toilet to one that complies with today's (post 1990s) energy guidelines could save you 5-10 gallons per day, as they are limited to use 1.6 gallons of water per flush rather than the standard 7. With performance like this, you'll recoup the price of the fixture in a year on water savings alone.

Another affordable fix, this time at the bathtub and sinks, is the installation of aerator taps. These smart flow regulator devices fill the water stream with tiny, soft bubbles, which will typically cut water flow per minute from 12 litres down to 8.

Go to and see if your provider is one of the 17 UK water companies offering customers free water saving devices such as aerators, shower timers, toilet cistern capacity reduction devices, energy-efficient shower heads and flow restrictors. Low-flow showerheads and aerators typically reduce water usage by 30% and are available for free or a minimal charge by the majority of water companies. These are simple changes that don't cost the earth but can make a world of difference.

Tap into new ideas

Looking at water usage in the developed world, the average person uses 150 litres of water every single day. If they swapped to water-saving flushes, taps and showerheads, this could be cut by as much as a third.

The biggest lifestyle changes we can make to reduce water use is to cut back on water wastage. If you keep the tap running while you're brushing your teeth, you use 6 litres per minute. By turning off the tap you can save around 12 to 18 litres every time. Likewise, you can save around 3 litres of water a time if you put the plug in the sink each time you wash your hands.

A leaking tap can waste a staggering 5,500 litres of water a year. By simply replacing a washer you could save a lot of money - and this precious resource too.

Thinking of water consumption at work and at home, UK tap water is amongst the best in the world, and relatively cheap at about £1 per cubic metre. Bottled water on the other hand takes up to 5 litres of water to produce a litre and its packaging has a high environmental cost as well. So by making a few sensible changes to the way you live, work and run your buy-to-let business, you can do your bit for the planet and your own bottom line at the same time.

With our minds on the developing world where water supplies are not as abundant, water scarcity affects around 40% of the global population. An estimated 663 million people lack ready access to improved sources of drinking water and cope with poor sanitation and hygiene, a concept which is hard to swallow in a culture where there is so much waste and the resource is literally on tap.

With World Water Day 2016 championing water and jobs - from accessing fresh drinking water in the office to ensuring workplaces are doing their bit to conserve this resource that many take for granted - we can make a real difference to the working and living conditions of many others.