Will we be facing hosepipe bans this summer?May 4th, 2011 by Simon Haddock
The recent warm, dry spell will have made the last two long weekends even more enjoyable for the majority of people in the UK. But long spells without rain bring the risk of hosepipe bans in various parts of the country.
England and Wales saw an average 0.82 inches of rain in March, a third of what it would normally receive. The situation is being carefully monitored by water companies who have not ruled out the possibility of domestic water restrictions.
We seem to take water for granted in this country and not learn from past experiences. In 1995 for example, convoys of lorries transported water from the Kielder reservoir in Northumberland to drought stricken areas of Yorkshire. The North and West of England have an abundance of water whilst the South and East never seem to have enough.
We’re continually advised to save water but not many people appreciate that saving hot water cuts down on energy bills and reduces your carbon footprint.
Waterwise, the UK NGO focused on decreasing the UK’s water consumption, has conducted some research that discovered the energy used to pump, heat and treat the average family home’s water produces carbon emissions equal to a return flight from London to New York. Carbon emissions are contributing to global climate change and therefore if we reduce our water consumption, we’re reducing our carbon footprint and alleviating the need for domestic water restrictions.
In these days of modern technology, it seems unbelievable that a small island, surrounded by so much water, suffers these regular shortages. Thames Water recently switched on the UK’s first desalination plant which can pump as much as 150 millions of gallons of fresh water into its reservoirs every day. But it consumes twice as much energy as traditional methods of water purification.
The government and the water companies should be doing everything in their power to encourage people to stop wasting water. How should they go about it? Would an incentive, such as a rebate for low consumption, encourage you to cut down? If not, what would?