Water! It is essential to life and its running out. Global warming has been creating issues in many countries for decades. Having spent the majority of the last 20 years in Melbourne, Australia as it was gripped by the devastating effects of drought for nearly 2 decades, I can tell you water scarcity is no joke.
Farmers watched their farms and animals dying before their very eyes unable to do a single thing to prevent it, houses only able to water their gardens and wash the car between certain times and on certain designated days of the week became a water rationing ritual. The mad and sad part about all of this is that while areas in Australia at the time were suffering from some of the most horrendous flooding on record. Other areas were getting drier and slipping further into drought.
Here in the UK the pattern seems to be repeating. Temperatures are rising and the water table that has been so buoyant in the UK for centuries, is going down at an alarming rate. This is indeed alarming for the UK, but the water issue is a global problem. It is a major environmental and health crisis being faced by rich and poor nations, for many different reasons.
We are lucky in the UK that clean drinking water is a fact of life. The United Nations states that Worldwide, one in three people do not have access to safe drinking water, two out of five people do not have a basic hand-washing facility with soap and water. During the COVID-19 global pandemic, these facts and their consequences are deeply horrifying. The concern is that climate change will not only change the volume of rainfall but also the pattern, with generally wetter winters, heavier downfalls and drier summers. Thames Water forecasts that, by 2050, our summers may be an average of 3°C hotter and 18% drier. “Climate change is definitely a major driver,” says Nathan Richardson, policy and projects manager for Waterwise. “The 2018 heatwave saw water demand go up by 30% in the summer”.. and with summers getting hotter annually this could be a real problem for our water resources long term.
So with the statistics being very clear and the trend of a dwindling resource being certain, individual and organisational waste of this precious resource is truely criminal! How aware of your water useage, are you?
- Do you consider yourself to be environmentally aware?
- Do you play your part in supporting sustainability?
- What part do you play in contributing to water waste?
Here is a test:
- [Yes or No] ‘My showers are under 5min long’
- [Yes or No] ‘ I ALWAYS turn the tap off when I brush my teeth’
- [Yes or No] ‘I rinse my dishes over a basin and use that water on my garden/plants’
If you said ‘yes’ to all these questions and are consistent in these conservation behaviours then, brilliant. Sadly, you are in the minority. I was alarmed to find, during my research for this post, the following:
- One cotton t-shirt has about 49 baths full of water embedded in its production.
- If each person spent one minute less in the shower, the UK would save 600 million litres of water every day
- Running Taps; a running tap wastes approximately 6 litres per minute.
- The Antarctic ice sheet holds about 90 percent of the fresh water that exists on the Earth’s surface and its melting into the oceans.
- The water industry looses 3 billion litres of water every day due to leaky taps and pipes
- A shower of 5min uses 1 large bath full of water
- Showers Vs Baths: efficiency shower-heads use less water than a bath, which is usually 80 litres.
- It is estimated that Britain ‘showers away’ more than 2,000,000,000 litres of water each day.
- If every home in the UK took one minute off their shower every day it would save £215 million on our collective energy bills every year.
- Time your shower to 4min, save a bath full of water
- Half flush toilets use 4-6 litres of water per flush compared to 13 litres per full flush.
- Laundry: Use cold water washes and only use the 30-45min cycles. This will save water and electricity. If you must use the dryer, re-use the condensation collected by the machine to water your garden/ house plants.
Conserving Water at home [http://www.how-to-save-water.co.uk/water-conservation/]
The Global Water Issue:
In 2010 the UN recognised the human right to water and sanitation, meaning everyone has the right to sufficient, continuous, safe, acceptable and affordable water. A staggering 748 million people live without basic access to clean water. That’s roughly 1 in 10 people on earth or twice the population of the USA. Unsafe water diseases like diarrhoea are killing one child every 60seconds in areas of the world where access to clan water is an issue. We take for granted in the UK clean water on tap and on demand. But if we continue to waste water nationally, as we have been, the impact we face as individuals as well as environmentally as a nation will be catastrophic. Each of us is responsible for saving water, everyday. If not for the environmental impact then for the financial impact on your purse. The cost associated with waste for your electricity and water bills is astronomical, saving water will save you money each year.
Educate yourself, your children, your workplace and each other. Wasting water is no joke and the change begins with you.
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