The Ebb and Flow of Our Water Fortunes; It's Not the Amount of Rain That Matters, It's What We Do with It If We Are to Avoid Water Shortages. Mel Hunter and Phil Gould Discover Why We Must Beware of Droughts - Even after a Record Wettest April

By Gould, Phil | The Birmingham Post (England), May 15, 2000 | Go to article overview

The Ebb and Flow of Our Water Fortunes; It's Not the Amount of Rain That Matters, It's What We Do with It If We Are to Avoid Water Shortages. Mel Hunter and Phil Gould Discover Why We Must Beware of Droughts - Even after a Record Wettest April


Gould, Phil, The Birmingham Post (England)


As surely as day follows night, so the inevitable sequel to the summer's first hot sunshine is the annual battle cry to save water.

Just as we were beginning to enjoy the sheer bare-legged freedom which comes with slipping into a pair of shorts, those eco-harridans start breathing a load of hot air down our necks.

Casting a distinct cloud over our long-awaited sun, they preach that our slothfulness is allowing litre upon litre of water to pass unchecked down the drains every day.

Put a plug in it, we say, and remember that Britain is still recovering from the wettest April on record.

Last month 13.5 centimetres (5.34 inches) of rain fell on England and Wales making it the wettest since 1818, the average rainfall for last month being 5.67 cm (2.3 ins).

Even a forecaster at the Met Office believes the Midlands has had its fill.

'One would hope we have had enough rain during the winter time. In April the Midlands had three times its average rainfall. The last thing people want to hear is that there is going to be a drought.'

Well, exactly. Even the weathermen say we are entitled to think the unprecedented downpours which left us drenched and depressed last month could actually help keep supplies going through the summer.

But, once again, it appears we are wrong. A campaign has already been launched encouraging householders to save water, and highlighting the fact that millions of litres are being allowed to disappear down the drains every year.

Environmental campaigners claim that running taps, garden sprinklers and people taking baths instead of showers is putting an ever increasing burden on our lakes and rivers.

Launching the campaign, Alan Woods, chief executive of environmental charity Going for Green says: 'People in Britain are using 70 per cent more water than they did previously, and this is causing untold damage to our rivers and our eco-system. And it's no good trying to point the finger. It's we consumers who are wasting this precious resource - and it's about time we stopped.'

Woods believes that by adjusting their lifestyle slightly people can help reduce the amount of water wasted.

It is estimated that by turning the tap off when cleaning your teeth households could save up to 10 litres of water a day.'

But critics have claimed that it is not only consumers who are to blame. In the past several water companies have been sharply criticised for water leakage problems throughout the country.

Kevin Mochrie, of water industry watchdog Ofwat, says water companies have been doing their bit by cutting back on the amount of water leaking away from their mains pipes during the past few years.

In 1998/99 154 litres were lost per property because of leaks, compared to 228 litres per property back in 1994. …

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The Ebb and Flow of Our Water Fortunes; It's Not the Amount of Rain That Matters, It's What We Do with It If We Are to Avoid Water Shortages. Mel Hunter and Phil Gould Discover Why We Must Beware of Droughts - Even after a Record Wettest April
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