We often forget how lucky we are here in the UK; we turn on a tap and instantly water flows. A recent study by Waterwise showed that 85% of people vastly underestimated how much water we use every day, with the majority estimating between 50 and 100 litres per day. The reality is more like 140 litres per person, per day.
Why are we running out of water?
It might seem obvious, but it’s a very good question. If primary school geography taught us anything, it’s the water cycle sees all water recycled. And if the news has taught us anything, it’s that sea levels are rising, not falling. So where is all our water going? How can we possibly be running out?
The answer is simple, but you’re not going to like it: climate change. In the UK, we’re already feeling the change, and by 2040 we can expect more than half of our summers to exceed the 2003 heatwave temperatures. At the same time, our population is growing. By 2050 the population is expected to have risen from 67 million to 75 million.
By 2050, the hotter, drier summers could reduce the amount of available water by 10-15%, with some rivers reduced by as much as 50-80%. These water shortages mean a much higher risk of drought. Areas hit hardest are likely to be in the south-east ; unfortunately that’s also the area of the UK with the highest density of the population.
How can we save water?
So, it’s clear that we need to save water, but how do we go about doing that? Well, there are essentially two different ways to better handle our water usage as a nation.
Increasing UK Water Supply
As we’ve mentioned, the UK population is growing rapidly and our water demand is increasing. To keep up with supply, we need to improve our national infrastructure. There are a lot of ways to do this:
- More water metering
- Improved training systems
- More stringent building regulations for water efficiency
- Upgrading pipework to reduce leakages
- A more cooperative system to create more even coverage
- Investment in desalination plants and new reservoirs
Decreasing UK Water Demand
While clearly the water system in this country needs to be updated to handle modern demands, we can also relieve the pressure on the water system and make the most of our supply by cutting down our usage. There are plenty of ways we can save water at home and at work, if only we think a little more about our use:
- Get leaks fixed immediately, rather than waiting around
- Swap you showerhead over to more efficient model
- Turn off your taps while brushing your teeth
- Fit tap aerators to maximise the efficiency of your taps
- Get a water butt for your garden needs
- Take shorter showers and don’t overfill your bathtub
- Spend a few pounds on water saver for your toilet
- Switch to a duel-flush cistern where possible
Think we missed something? Do you have a different opinion?
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