By Chantal Cooke
So although it may sometimes feel as though our summers have far too much rain, not too little, it’s important to conserve water.
Water companies have looked at the possibility of piping water from wetter areas to drier areas, but this has proven prohibitively expensive, not to mention the environmental damage of laying hundreds of miles of pipe – and it would need to be a pretty large pipe!
Desalination of sea water has also been discussed. The technology is available to do this, but it’s energy hungry (contributing to climate change) and would, once again, require large amounts of pipe.
So in the absence of a successful rain dance everyone needs to take responsibility for reducing their water usage. It’s true, the water companies need to do more to fix antiquated leaking pipes, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do our bit.
In the 1920’s we used an average of 120 litres per person per day. Today that’s increased to 150 litres and the level is rising every year. The problem is compounded by a growing population.
Water restrictions, hose pipe bans and rationing are likely to be more commonplace in the future.
So, it’s time to stop blaming and start acting to save water. Everyone can do something and together it will make a huge difference.
Here are ten easy ways to save water and you’ll also save money too;
1. Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth. A family of four can save a bath full of water each day doing this.
2. In hot weather keep a bottle of water in the fridge instead of running taps until the water runs cold.
3. Harvest rainwater. Collect rainwater in a water butt and use this to water your plants. Placing the butt under the down pipe of your guttering, to collect rainwater from your roof, is the most efficient way.
4. Old toilet cisterns can use as much as nine litres of water every flush. Reduce this by placing a ‘save-a-flush’ or ‘hippo’ in the cistern. Your local water company can usually provide these free of charge.
5. Take a shower rather than a bath. Five minutes in a gravity fed shower uses 65% less water than a bath. But, a power shower is much thirstier. Five minutes in a power shower uses more water than a bath!
6. Get into DIY. Dripping taps can waste up to four litres of water every day. Replace worn tap washers for a quick and cheap way of saving water.
7. When boiling water in saucepans and kettles use the minimum amount of water required; that way, you’ll save energy as well as water.
8. Get a bigger washing basket. Half-load programmes on dishwashers and washing machines actually use more than half the water and energy of a full load. So only switch on the machine when you have a full load.
9. Wash vegetables and fruit in a bowl rather than under a running tap and use the leftover water for watering plants.
10. Don’t use a sprinkler on your lawn. A sprinkler left on for an hour uses over a 1000 litres of water – enough to supply six people for a whole day! Grass can cope with dry weather and doesn’t like being drowned anyway!
Do your bit and watch your water bills drop!
About the Author: Chantal Cooke is a professional journalist, travel writer and broadcaster.