Water is for Life

The “Water Bus” on Jubilee Sunday

How do you start your day? Do you stumble bleary eyed down stairs, turn on the tap and fill up the kettle for that first blissful cup of tea or coffee? Or does your morning ritual include a shower?

Whatever the routine and what ever you do throughout the day; drinking, cooking, washing your clothes or the car, showering, going to the toilet, it will include one essential ingredient; water.

Water is amazing stuff; it covers three quarters of our planet and makes up 60% of our bodies. It is essential for life on earth and without it, we wouldn’t be here.

In this country, we take it for granted that when we turn on our tap clean water will come gushing out. Remember the water cycle? It replenishes itself. But like many resources on this planet, water is finite and if we use it faster than it can be replaced then we are in serious trouble.  And that is exactly what we are doing.

With modern luxuries like power showers and a raft of household appliances, we use 50% more water now than we did 25 years ago. Our small, heavily populated, island now has less available water per person than most other European countries. The problem is greatest in London and the south-east which have been compared to Morocco in terms of water availability.

On average we use 150 litres of water a day. That is over a tonne of water a week each. There are 1.4 million people in Sussex which means we require 200 million litres a day from a water resource that is currently not being replenished enough.
In addition, many of the things we use or buy have a water footprint; they use water in manufacture and transport. That early morning cup of coffee for example needs about 140 litres to be grown, processed and transported.
The government’s future water strategy for England would like to see the average person reduce the amount of water they use by 20 litres per day.

Small changes in our behaviour could achieve this target;

  • Install a water butt for watering your plants. You can also reuse your old washing up or bath water.
  • Plant drought resistant plants, rather than thirsty water needy varieties.
  • Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth; it can waste over 6 litres per minute.
  • Take short showers rather than a bath.
  • Ensure your washing machine and dishwasher has a full load.
  • A dripping tap could waste as much as 90 litres a week – mend it!
  • Fit a water saving device in your toilet cistern and save up to 3 litres a flush.
  • Get a water meter fitted so you pay for only the water you use. 

How Bob saved £240 with a £10 water bottle

Bob Platt bought his water bottle from a camping shop 10 years ago and has been using it at least twice a week ever since.  That means he’s substituted for at least 1000 500ml bottles of water over that time.  So how much has that saved?
The cheapest bottled water purchased as a multipack costs about 25p per 500ml (it’s 52p at the Coop if you buy them singly).  So he reckons he’s saved at least £250, minus the £10 for the bottle – an amazing £240 net.
But that’s not all.  He calculates he’s avoided over half a tonne of freight transport, with all the environmental costs that entails.  Plus he’s not used the 25kg of plastic in all those bottles.  Not bad for a £10 investment!
His tip for keeping the bottle clean and fresh – get a decent bottle brush.  And if your tap water tastes a little bit of chlorine – just put it in a jug in the fridge overnight.

To find out more

Visit the Waterwise website: www.waterwise.org.uk