Conserving Water

You and I both know it’s important to treat water with the up most respect, it is after all our most basic and needed resource on the planet.

Yet I just didn’t know how needed this resource is.  I just imagined that seeing as we get rain in this country (usually quite a lot in some places) that we only ever had to worry about conserving it when Britain was in the mists of a belonged drought.

How wrong I was

Take a look at this infographic below:

Photographic courtesy of Easy Watering

There are two big things that really stood our for me on the above poster:

  • That we use 70% more water than we did 40 years ago
  • London is drier than Istanbul

Both the above have come from reliable sources (although I’m still trying to track down  year by year household water usage data), but I was stunned by the realisation that individual consumption (not household) has increased so dramatically in the past 40 years.  What has happened to us, as humans, that we need to consume so much more water?

Is it the appliances in our homes, the amount we drink and use in cooking?  Or is it that we use more on our gardens and cars for certain parts of the year?

And what about Istanbul?

It’s not the capital of Turkey but still it’s largest city with over 14.1 million people living there.  In comparison London has 8.1 million people residing (although I don’t think that takes into consideration the increase in population with some borough’s seeing an increase of 5000% on a working day due to commuters).

I feel I need to look into this water consumption in some further detail.

In the mean time though, one thing is ‘clear’ – water is not to be taken for granted.

As a gardener I collect and use as much rain water as I can but clearly there are other areas in my life that use water and use too much of it.

I like many others are clearly taking it for granted because we turn on a tap and instantly we are rewarded with clean water but that seems to be only a very small part of an increasingly worrying problem.

Cover photo courtesy of David Pilbrow


13 responses to “Conserving Water

  1. I feel bad about using a hose so much at this time of year, and we do use butts and a watering can as well – but when trying to grow all of our fruit and veg it is hard to find time to water entirely without a hose in a dry spell. Finding a big difference since moving to a drier bit of the country – growing veg in Lincs feels very different from doing it in Manchester!

    And we would never, ever water the lawn – but I guess some people still do!

    Apart from gardening I wonder if adopting more US standards of personal cleanliness has increased individual water usage. I know showers are more economical than baths but I assume a daily shower uses more than a weekly bath, which was still quite normal when I was a child!

    • My parents live in Lincs, so I can well inagine the challenge of gardening there in comparison with Manchester! I live near Leeds, which is hardly a wet part of the world but when we have rain it seems to miss them.

      I’ve stopped having showers every day and no one has complained. Doesn’t mean I don’t wash but I doubt my legs and arms get that dirty on a daily basis!

      • That’s a very interesting point, we do seem to have become a nation of over obsessed cleanies. People seem to wash everything and themselves to within an inch of life and on twice daily basis sometimes. Is this evolution or marketing/advertising ploys to make people spend money?

      • Probably a bit of both – bathrooms instead of a tub in front of the fire, central heating so you don’t shiver in the bathroom, higher disposable income so you can buy all the products, peer pressure and goodness knows what else…..

    • My apologies in my delay to your comment.
      I’ve spent more than enough time this yr using a hose when we got a new lawn laid. It’s made me think twice about any more lawn now!
      Interesting point about cleanliness…I wonder!
      Yes good old Manchester always a bit wet! Having said that we’ve had our fair share over here this last month.

  2. Overall I think we are all going to have to think about this more in coming years, of course, and there is always more we could do. We have a lot of different bits of roof and so will get more water butts over time.

    • Water butts are definitely the way to go. They need to be in more shapes and they need to be cheaper but I know some councils will sell them at discounted prices.

  3. We have water restrictions for lawns, and some years watering outdoors is banned (as is washing one’s own car in the driveway v. a car wash where the water is recycled). Hmm, one of these days we’ll be metering our showers if this keeps up, and, I’ve been known to keep a bucket to catch the water that comes out before it gets hot, then use it for watering plants. Clearly we should all be more mindful of waste. Thanks for a thoughful post, I had no idea that water could be an issue in the UK.

    • I think we just assume that because it’s a relatively wet place to live that the UK doesn’t have a water problem but not all areas are the same and I think the larger cities are going to suffer first. We also have a big problem over here with our water pipes in that they are very old and none of the water companies (all ours are privately owned) want to fork out the money so a lot (I’m not sure of the figures but it’s significant depending on who you walk to) of water gets wasted through leaking pipes.

So, what do you think?

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