It feels strange to be reading about water shortages whilst staring out at heavy rain that feels like it hasn’t stopped for the last three weeks. The Independent has a Q&A on cause and effect, but what can the water customers do about it?
Obviously, we should stop using so much water. Sticking a bottle full of water or a Hippo water saver in the toilet’s cistern is a start. Finding a more efficient way to wash the dishes (one of my major sins) may involve shelling out for a dishwasher, and then you’ll have the worry of the detergents involved. Products such as Eco-Balls mean you can use lower volume washes for your clothes.
Outside you have the benefit of all that water coming out of the sky at the moment. If you want to carry on watering your garden after a hosepipe ban, invest in a water butt to catch all the rain coming down the spout from your roof. In the longer term, how about replacing concrete and brick with grass, herbs and vegetables. This will cut the amount of run off, provide cool pockets in the Summer and save you money on salads.
That’s not going to solve the major problems, of course. Water companies still need to cut the leakage in their pipes (Thames Water loses a third of all its supplied water through leaks, and has missed its leakage improvement target in each of the last two years) and lower water solutions need to be incorporated into new builds as a matter of course. We can do nothing about that directly, but a bit of lobbying and consumer pressure will help.