Water Saving Considerations
In many parts of the world, including in the UK, water is becoming an increasingly scarce resource. This was highlighted by the drought experienced here between 2004 and 2006. The amount of water we have available is not increasing, it is a finite resource that needs processing prior to use, however the population continues to rise and with it so does demand. The number of households has of course also increased with the growing population, this has resulted in far more usage, an increasing amount of points of access to water and far greater infrastructure throughout the country.
Looking to future it is predicted that climate change will have a real impact on our weather patterns in the UK. With more frequent prolonged periods without rainfall expected how we manage and consume water is now of real concern.
Reducing water consumption makes environmental and commercial sense; it saves money, reduces harm to the environment and helps to preserve natural resources. There are many changes that both homes and businesses can make to their day to day lives that will have dramatic impact on current water usage. Everyday water usage that should be evaluated include:
- Flushing toilets and urinals
- Cooling water
- Hand washing
- Drinking water fountains
- Vehicle washing
- Irrigation of landscaped areas and gardens
Solutions to reduce water consumption in these areas include:
- Rainwater harvesting
- Flow restrictors
- Flow regulators
- Upgrading appliances
- Changing routine i.e. take a shower instead of a bath
- Recycling greywater
Having a water meter fitted is also a powerful tool if you are trying to reduce water consumption. Receiving an estimated or standard monthly bill gives no indication as to how much water you are using. Having a meter fitted and recording meter readings on a regular basis, will allow you to identify trends in water consumption.
As another consideration when we use water we often use another form of energy in conjunction with this, mostly to heat the water. Generating energy produces carbon dioxide emissions which are one of the main greenhouse gases causing climate change. Heating water for use in our homes makes up about four per cent of the UK’s total carbon dioxide emissions. So by cutting down on your water usage you’ll also be cutting down on your water bill, your gas bill and your emissions.
On a national scale adaptation may include improvements to drought risk management, variable water charges, implementing changes to agricultural irrigation practices, land use planning and building regulations. To some extent all water users will have to adapt their water usage to ensure a continuous supply is maintained.