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Water is one of our most precious resources and everybody needs access to clean fresh water to stay healthy. We don’t only need water to drink; we use it for washing clothes and dishes, bathing, in industry and agriculture. Water shortages are projected to be a likely problem in the future, so what can we do to become more savvy about the water we use and reduce unnecessary wastage of this valuable commodity?
An Englishman’s home is his castle, and for that reason, many people love the idea of building their own home. Undertaking a self build project can also be a fantastic way to give yourself an eco-home, filled with the highest quality insulation, natural finishes and ethically sourced furnishings.
A report compiled by the Environment Agency has revealed that despite improvements in quality over the past 20 years, three quarters of the rivers in the UK are not up to new EU water quality standards. The report assesses the biological and chemical quality of the rivers and has surveyed 6000 rivers across England and Wales, identifying only five as ‘pristine’.
A report by two climate scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego warns that the effects of climate change could lead to shortfalls in targeted water supply for homes serviced by the Colorado River; an area that has never before suffered a shortage.
The Environment Agency has called for domestic water meters to be compulsory in England and Wales, stating that this would result in lower water consumption. On average, it has been shows that homes with metered supplies use between 10 and 15% less water than homes on a standard flat rate for their water, however only 30% of the population currently has a water meter fitted.
With less water per head in England and Wales than most Mediterranean countries despite the reputation for being wet and rainy, largely due to dense population and high demand for water, it is more important than ever that action is taken to help reduce water wastage. The South East of England is an area of particular concern, as in addition to consuming more water than the national average, many water sources in the area have been over-used, which has resulted in the area being recently labeled as ‘water stressed’ in the CAMS assessment of 2007.
It is proposed that homes in seriously water stressed areas should be fitted with compulsory water meters by 2015, however the Environment Agency accepts that some water companies may not be able to achieve this until 2020.
People become more aware of the amount of water they use when on a metered supply, and are more likely to look at ways of saving water to reduce the size of their bills. It is believed that there is a greater incentive to people to make their water go further and not waste it unnecessarily when it is their pocket that feels the impact otherwise. However, people pay for electricity on a meter, and still leave lights on when there’s nobody home and electrical goods on standby… so will installing meters really work or will it just mean higher bills and more accurate figures to show just how bad we are at saving water?
Severn Trent Water, the fourth largest privately owned water company in the world which provides services for over 8 million customers across the middle of Britain, are offering advice and discounted products to their customers through their website and ‘source’. ‘Source’ is Severn Trent’s magazine which informs customers about the company’s activities and schemes, as well as promoting products that are available from them to help save water, and therefore do your bit to help the environment.
Issue 9 of ‘source’ features a Fat Trap which customers can order for free from Severn Trent’s website, or by calling 0845 603 4413. The aim of the Fat Trap is that it is used to collect fat, oil and grease enabling you to dispose of them safely rather than contributing to clogged pipes and drains in the drainage system. People who are not customers of Severn Trent can order a Fat Trap from Less Mess Limited.
Although many people know that it’s bad practice to allow fat and grease to go down the sink, what people may not realise is exactly how much damage this can have, especially if every home was doing it. Severn Trent have already installed their own Fat Traps in Stourport-on-Severn for an initial trial, chosen because of the amount of problems with blocked pipes Severn Trent have had to deal with in the area. Steve Dawes, the General Manager for Sewerage at Severn Trent said that,
” To give you an idea of the scale of the problem, we have to empty the fat traps every 2 weeks and they each hold 9 gallons of liquid fat.”
So using a fat trap in your home can help you reduce your impact on the environment by helping to reduce the amount of blockages in the pipes that can lead to leaks and floods, and therefore wasted water too.