Liquid Gold

Posted on May 16, 2011

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The U.K. has been revelling in the recent weather with the absence of rain that plagues the nation in the cooler months being a hot topic for many. I will readily admit that I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to get out into the great outdoors more frequently but while there it was obvious that wildlife, crops and water bodies are feeling the strain.

Today the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Caroline Spelman is meeting with Natural England, the Environment Agency, the National Farmers’ Union, Water UK, and British Waterways (to name but a few) at a high level summit in order to “prepared for prolonged dry conditions”. The aim as communicated by Spelman is “to lessen harm to crops, wildlife or rivers, and to minimise the effect on households”; a quote that should highlight to the public that long rain free periods are not always sunshine and lollypops (bad pun intended).

Though this summit concluded that we are not yet experiencing drought conditions the statistics are quite impressive. We only received 61% of our average rainfall in the last 3 months and a meagre 24% of April’s average rainfall. This inevitably has consequences; fires, hosepipe bans, increased food prices due to failed crops, dehydrated hedgehogs and limited nesting material in the form of mud for swallows and martins.

I’m continually surprised that both public and non-public sectors squander vast amounts of the precious commodity that is H2O every year. It’s great that both government and large bodies are keeping an eye on the situation but I’m a big believer in people power and there is much a single individual can do to curb water usage.

Here are some top tips on how to change your water use habits and benefit both people and planet.

1.       Get your hands on a water buttan excellent source of FREE water for your garden. It’s worth the investment and it’s common for water companies to give reduced prices. More information about water butts at:

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Environmentandgreenerliving/Greenerhomeandgarden/Greenergarden/DG_064410

 2.       Water your plants early in the morning (using water from your water butt of course) – if you have to water your plants do it before it gets too hot. More water will enter the rhizosphere (root zone) instead of evaporating, decreasing water wastage.

 3.       Leave your lawn to grow longerlonger grass protects against scorching which means watering your lawn can be a thing of the past or at the very least a rare event. Besides, super manicured lawns are over rated and provide little habitat for beautiful bugs and the associated fauna that feeds on them.

More water saving garden tips at: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Environmentandgreenerliving/Greenerhomeandgarden/Greenergarden/DG_064410

4.       Turn the tap off when brushing your teeth even better is to put a little bit of water in a tumbler and use that for all your brushing requirements. You’ll soon realise how little water you actually need. Saves up to 6 litres of water… PER MINUTE!!!

 5.       Take a shower instead of a bath I often put the plug in the bath to see how much water I use when showering. If anything it makes me shower faster to meet the challenge of using as little water as possible. Great for those of us that have a habit of running late in the mornings.

 6.       Get a cistern displacement devicemany water companies supply these free of charge but you can also get them online. Saves approx. 1 litre each flush.

 7.       Fix that dripping tapnot only are they annoying but you can waste up to a whopping 5,500 litres of water a year.

 8.       Fill up dishwashers and washing machinesand if you have the option choose water and/or energy saving modes.

 9.       Don’t pre-rinse your dishes I have never understood why people do.

 10.   Be an active car washerThere’s no need to wash your car every week and when you do avoid car wash places as they use loads of water. Instead be more active about the whole event and opt for the bucket and sponge technique.

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