Saving water

Flooding by marilynjane via Flickr

Flooding by marilynjane via Flickr

With threats of floods this weekend and many parts of the UK set for a rainy spell, do we really need to save water? My Dad has always argued that saving water when you live in Manchester is a waste of time. Water is everywhere – why are we trying to save it?

Well the answer is more complex than you might think. To one degree my dad is right – we often have more water than we know what to do with. However, the environmental impact of water goes way beyond its use as a raw material.

Consider the cost of actually pumping water around. While some places in the UK have gravity fed systems – large parts of the South East, South West, Midlands and East Anglia use pumps to move water around. More water used, more power required to move the water.

Consider the cost of handling and treating sewage. According the Environment Agency, 10 billion litres of sewage are produced in the UK every day. The treatment plants use energy and require the delivery chemicals, sand and gravel to make the process work. The resulting sludge often gets taken away by the lorry load for landfill, land reclaimation and farm usage. (Of course it could be used as the input to a bio-gas system – but not much sign of that happening in the UK yet!)

Consider meeting our UK obligations under the EU Habitats Directive where the UK committed to reduce the water usage around the Natura 2000 protected sites by an equivalent amount of water as used by 1.5million people. There are 414 sites in the UK where flora and fauna will be endangered if we do not reduce the ground water abstraction. Back in 1992 the targets for 2010 probably looked easy to achieve – now in 2008 – things look a little tougher.

So it may be chucking it down for all of January but there is still a whole host of good green reasons to save water. If you’ve got an old style cistern on your loo, why not take advantage of the special offer on Hippo the Water Saver at Ethical Superstore?

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  • alex

    I really enjoy reading your blog, it always has great insight. But I am very frustrated with the fact that so few people are talking about presidential candidates and their thoughts on global warming. Now that it is down to just a few candidates I would think that this would be a bigger issue.

    Live Earth just picked up this topic and put out an article ( ) live earth is also asking why the presidential candidates are not being solicited for their stance on the issue of the climate change. I just saw a poll on that says people care a lot about what their next leader thinks of global warming. Does anyone know of another poll or other results about this subject?

    Here is the page where I saw the EarthLab poll: This is a pretty legit website; they are endorsed by Al Gore and the alliance for climate protection and they have a carbon footprint calculator. Does anyone have a strong opinion about this like I do? No matter what your political affiliation is or who you vote for this is an important issue for our environment, our economy and for homeland security.

  • Ben

    Hi Alex, thanks for your feedback.

    It’s an interesting point you’ve raised there.

    We should do some investigating.

    Watch this space.

    Thanks for reading!

  • Interesting post – we try to do as much as possible with regards using less water and doing our bit with recycling. I will check out the ethical superstore website for eco products – thanks.