Bardiness

"..a bardy view!"

Water water everywhere, and not a drop to drink…..

WaterAid_logoI've just received my half-yearly water bill of £200 from Thames Water, which works out at £1.00 per day.

I don't know if I live in an average household (I suspect not) but the shower is used at least three times a day, the dishes washed twice, the washing machine used once, the bog flushed at least ten times, and the kettle filled at least twice, and maybe some veggies boiled once.

Strangely enough, the amount of direct tap water drunk is minuscule in comparison. I haven't included watering the plants or the garden, because that's not everyday, nor even the number of times a day the molars get brushed and gargled. 

As for dripping taps (faucets) there may be a wasted pint here or there, but that's nothing that a good rubber-washer couldn't stop. I certainly don't waste water washing the car because that's what car washes are for, and besides, you get a polish and buff thrown in. And who uses water for washing windows nowadays? That's what Mr Muscle is for. In fact, I doubt I have seen a window cleaner cycling around with a ladder, bucket and shammy for over twenty years. 

So all things considered £1 seems a cheap price to pay. But that is the problem. Brits are always complaining about their water bills, and bemoan the fact that if these companies stopped all the millions of gallons of waste then the price would be even less.

I'm moved to bring this up because along with my bill there was a leaflet asking me to pay by direct debit. Thames Water would donate £2 a month to Bangladesh if I complied. Presumably this is the amount they would save by not chasing up serial late payers like me with reminders. This is in an effort to raise £2m for Water Aid, and £2 will provide clean water for a family for a month.

It's true that in developed nations water is taken for granted. Yet the reality is that more than a billion people do not have access to adequate supplies of water, and with the global population soon to reach 7 billion, that is one in seven of us. Less than 10% of us receive a treated water supply.

Extreme weather patterns are increasing and causing devastating floods. Thailand are suffering their worst flooding in 50 years even as I write. Millions are being left with no access to drinking water, yet surrounded by unusable flood water. Apart from the human cost, there is the financial cost, and recent floods in the UK have cost £2bn.

Nevertheless, even without these natural disasters, fresh water is a luxury for many. I say "natural" but deforestation is a major protagonist, and that is decidedly un-natural.

Still, the fact is that water is a precious resource, and we in the west need to think about it more. Whilst many of us are cutting back on energy because of the economic problems, the use and waste of water is being overlooked. Whilst many are using their cars less, or switching off the lights to save on electricity, how many are flushing the toilet thoughtlessly after a piddle? "Wait for the main, before you pull the chain!"

During the 1990's the Philippines had a slogan for water awareness: "If it's brown flush it down, if it's yellow – let it mellow!" They don't use that ditty anymore, thankfully, but they surely know the value of water. Unlike us in the west, who know the price of everything, but the value of nothing!

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October 17, 2011 - Posted by | Conservation, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Science, The Philippines, United Kingdom | , , , , , , , , ,

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