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Every drop counts

Posted by Steve whipp Mar 9, 2015

Just because it seems to rain a lot in the UK doesn’t mean we can waste water. Humans, animals and plants need water and without it there would be no life on Earth. Although water seems to be an unending resource for us in rainy Britain the truth is that water is a scarce resource and for one in nine people in the World, access to clean drinking water is not available. At the recent World Economic Forum meeting water was identified as the top global risk in terms of impact.  So we need to protect the precious water we have because once it is lost it is gone forever.

We can do lots of things including reducing waste, protecting the clean water we have by stopping contamination, reducing the amount of water we use every day (in the UK the average water use is 150 litres per person every day) and encouraging industry, including agriculture, to be efficient.

Many great ideas have already been implemented and we commonly see taps in public bathrooms that close themselves off. We also see low water use or even waterless loos which are very effective. Energy efficient shower heads are offered by many water companies and we see washing machines that do a great job but use a fraction of the water. Industry and agriculture are also playing their part by conserving and re-using water and by developing drought resistant crops.

Water in the UK is taken from lakes and from underground storage as well as from rivers and the amount taken from each varies between regions. We have seen droughts in the UK from time to time where measures have had to be taken to conserve water by using hosepipe bans. These are still quite rare but could become more common with climate change. Growth in population around the World will only increase the stress on water.

If we can learn to use less water we can reduce the number of times that droughts occur and we can ensure that the future is more sustainable. The key to ensuring a future for our children and grandchildren lies in the way we use water and making sure that all people get the message. So the challenge is about how we can get the message across and in a way that makes it personal and encourages changes in behaviour. 

This post was edited on Mar 9, 2015 by Steve whipp

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Comments (13)

Louis Allen says... Mar 9, 2015

Nice statement, I agree alot of education starts at home and schools

sheli rashid says... Mar 9, 2015

I feel  if students are encouraged at school and taught the benefit of water saving this would pass on to the family and if there were TV or Media Adverts regarding this we would be able to encourage everyone.

Chloe Booker says... Mar 9, 2015

Hi Sheli - thanks so much for your post. Would you mind reposting it as an idea? Then people can vote and comment. Also, if you get a min, please could you upload a profile photo? It's a bit friendlier than a grey outline! Thanks again.

Andrew O'Connor says... Mar 10, 2015

i think this idea has been talked about quite a lot in several other places that are already open. Media is the most effective way to get stuff across to people 

Chloe Booker says... Mar 9, 2015
This comment has been removed
Louis Allen says... Mar 9, 2015

it should be done its amazing what a powerful advert can achieve

Roland Harwood says... Mar 9, 2015

Hi Steve. Thanks for the post. It's powerful stuff and I appreciate the point you are making, however I still don't quite get the link between our individual daily consumption, national droughts, and global climate change to be honest. If we all managed to redule our daily consumption by 10 litres per day for instance, what kind of impact could that really have? And how would that compare with what industry could achieve through more efficient practices? It would be great to get a sense of the impact we could have by working together on this. Thanks, Roland

Janet Bradley says... Mar 10, 2015

Out of interest, the climate change projections for the UK suggest that London will be flooded, does that not mean that the UK can expect more water?

Louis Allen says... Mar 13, 2015

Really when is this flooding going to happen? I can understand why it would it happen because of londons old sewer pipes can not come with todays population.

 

Andrew O'Connor says... Mar 10, 2015

thanks for that Steve, interesting read!

Steve whipp says... Mar 13, 2015

Hi Roland - thanks for you comments and asking for more context.

I just got a water bill and we had used 240 litres per day over the last six months. The bill was £180. So if I'd reduced my use by say 40 litres per day I'd have saved £30 and 40x182=7,300 litres of water - enough for quite a few showers. The water company uses more water than it supplies as there are losses in treatment so I might have saved it abstracting say 10,000 litres from the environment.

If everybody could do this the impact of abstraction would be less, there would fewer hosepipe bans needed, water bills would be reduced and the energy used to pump, treat and distribute water would significantly reduce the carbon footprint. It's difficult to quantify some of the benefits in monetary terms but we should consider the environmental impacts as well as the broader benefits of having safe reliable supplies for everyone.

Industry is actually quite advanced in water saving not only to reduce bills but also because customers want them to operate with strong green credentials. Green thinking often ties in with successful business - see Marks and Spencer's Plan A for example.  

If we all consume water in the autumn and winter with no regard to use and then there is a dry summer costs will rise, lakes and rivers will run dry (think about wildlife and eco-systems) and restrictions will kick in. It's all about being responsible and considering others and the environment. 

Roland Harwood says... Mar 23, 2015

Hi Steve. Thanks for this. This is very helpful. Can you give me an idea of the sort of activites that would save 40litres a day, especially in summer months? 

And could you explain the maths of 40x182 (I'm not sure what you are multiplying here)? 

I'd quite like to be able to say something like "By not running the tap whilst brushing my teeth this year I have saved 50 fish or 5 bars of chocolate (as per my other post re chocolate) or 1 day's worth of hosepipe ban." or something like that. Might that be possible?

Roland 

Louis Allen says... Mar 13, 2015

wow some great facts there Steve, never knew that water companies use more than water than it supplies. I think if it does not rain hardly then prices could rise, thanks for the info.

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