Eco Comment – Water, Water Everywhere.

24 May 2024

‘Water, water everywhere’ and the rest of the poem depends on your source. Poets, writers and the advertising people have taken the original line from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s epic poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” (1798) and changed it to suit their purposes.

Currently water is very much in the news. It appears connected to a range of topics ranging from having too much, to too little; the management and care of our water by the water companies (which I’m not going to go any further with) and information as to how we should use this precious commodity. The distribution of water within our own society and around the world is probably, for many of us, fairly clear-cut. However, on reading up on the subject this week, I discovered that this is not the case.

‘The UK has less available water per person than most other European countries. London is drier than Istanbul, and the South East of England has less water available per person than some African countries.’ ( I was shocked when I read this so decided to fact check it. I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t just a headline grabbing statement for Water Saving Week 2024. Surprisingly, I discovered that the gist of it is true. ‘Climate change, population increases and changes in lifestyle have led to increasing pressure being put on our water supplies.’

Water use in the UK has increased significantly over time. ( For example, the amount of water used by the average household in the UK has increased by 70% since 1985. Almost 50% of the UK’s water is used in the home.

The reasons for the increased demand for water are:

  • the increase in households having appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines, which use a large amount of water;
  • improvements in personal hygiene, so people now take showers more often. People were more likely to have a weekly bath and share the water with their families in the past!
  • more food is now grown in greenhouses to meet the demand for out-of-season food. This requires watering throughout the year;
  • industrial production has increased, leading to a greater demand for water;
  • people have more leisure time now than in the past. This has led to an increased demand for water for leisure facilities such as golf courses;
  • car ownership has increased, leading to more people cleaning cars;
  • the population of the UK has increased, leading to a greater demand for water.

The average person in the UK uses 149 litres of water per day. This compares to 575 litres in the USA and just 4 litres in Mozambique.

This focus on water is also quite a large issue in this week’s Chelsea Flower Show. Our gardens are often the first places we feel the effects of extreme weather like heatwaves, heavy rainfall and droughts. So, amongst others the Water Aid Garden is celebrating the power of this most precious resource and raising awareness that the climate crisis is a water crisis.

Almost 1 in 10 people throughout the world don’t have clean water close to home. As springs dry up and floods pollute vital water sources, life in communities vulnerable to climate change is getting harder. There are simple solutions such as rain harvesting that can make the most of heavy rain and store it to provide a reliable source of clean water during draughts.

The Water Aid Garden has come about through a partnership between Project Giving Back, landscape designer Tom Massey and the architect Je Anh. They have created a garden that makes a feature of rainwater collection and shows how with careful planning and water management, resilient, beautiful gardens can thrive.

We might not all be fortunate to have tickets to Chelsea, but we can all do our bit to save water. Please read on …

10 Water Saving Tips – Saving water to save the earth.

  1. Switch to showers and try to keep it to 4 minutes or less.
  2. Try to water your garden without using a sprinkler. Invest in a water butt.
  3. Turn off the tap. They use around 6 litres of water a minute.
  4. When washing up, wash the cleanest things first. Rinse in a bowl of water.
  5. If using a dishwasher, make sure it’s full.
  6. Use left over water to water your plants and your garden.
  7. If you have a leaking tap, get it mended.
  8. Fit low flow aerators on your taps and showers – same water pressure but uses less water.
  9. Use waterless cleaning products and toiletries. Switch from bottles to bars and powder to eco strips.
  10. Only boil the amount of water you need in a kettle.

Susan Morgan
Eco Group

Want to know more about the Eco Group?

Wakefield Cathedral’s Eco Group brings together members of the congregation, volunteers and staff to work towards making the cathedral a greener place to work and worship.

The Eco Group achieves its goals through a variety of activities, including partnerships with local community groups.

We invite anyone and everyone to reach out if they are interested in joining the eco group, or simply finding out more about what we do.

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