BILLIONS of litres of water are being wasted each week by toilets which are supposed to cut losses.
An estimated 400 million litres — enough to supply 2.8 million people — is lost from dual-flush loos every day.
The problem is blamed on the cistern mechanism which is prone to leak, sending a constant dribble of water into the pan.
But it is worsened by users pressing the wrong button, using a long flush when a short one would do.
Thames Water efficiency manager Andrew Tucker said: “Because we’ve got so many loos that continuously flow all through the day, collectively that water loss is now exceeding the amount of water they should be saving nationally.
“The water loss is getting bigger every day as more people refurbish and retrofit their older toilets and as we build more homes.”
Dual-flush toilets have been growing in popularity since their drop valve mechanism was approved in 2001.
They are supposed to save water by allowing users to choose a short flush to get rid of urine and a long flush for solid matter.
But debris often catches in the valve, causing it to leak and send water trickling all day into the pan.
And up to 50 per cent of users are not sure which button is for which flush, a survey shows.
Waterwise has estimated that between five per cent and eight per cent of toilets are leaking — and most are dual flush.
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The Bathroom Manufacturers Association admits drop valve toilets are more likely to leak.
But it says a leak is easy to spot as it causes a slight ripple in the water at the back of the bowl.
It also suggests putting food colouring in the cistern and seeing whether it shows up in the pan.
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