Is the UK running on empty?
Last week I attended the Water Industry Achievement Awards (WIAA), organised by edie's sister publications WET News and WWT, at the ICC in Birmingham.
Hosted by up and coming comic star Seann Walsh, who may or may not have offended half audience (the sign of a good comedian surely?), the event was held to recognise innovation in the water industry.
This seems all the more pertinent considering that hosepipe bans are set to come into force in south east England later this week (April 5), as a result of drought. Unfortunately, water companies don't yet have the power to make it rain, so drier parts of the UK will be running on depleted water supplies this spring and summer.
With winners scooping awards for initiatives such as sustainable water technologies, leak and carbon reduction and community and partnership working it was clear that innovative thinking and collaborative working is the way forwards for successful water management - even if it's too late to tackle drought.
While the water industry obviously needs to play their part in saving water - with recent leakage figures showing the eye-watering scale of water wastage in the UK – so does the humble consumer – you and me.
Now I have to admit I am not perfect when it comes to saving water – I'm marathon training at the moment so seem to do a lot more clothing washing of stinky running kit and er myself.
One thought that struck me as I dutifully pounded the streets the other night is that like the long-distance runner, whose energy supplies need constant replenishment to operate efficiently, so does the UK's water system. Without replenishment the runner will soon hit the dreaded 'wall' when their glycogen stores are depleted, similarly this could be applied to the UK's reservoirs which haven't been replenished for sometime. Is the UK at risk of running on empty?
To counter my increase in water usage I do try to take little steps to reduce my consumption elsewhere, which includes not taking really long showers or deep baths and only putting the washing machine on when it is actually full (which helpfully saves energy as well).
I also don't leave the tap running while brushing my teeth or while washing dishes (see no dishwasher I'm that good!). Furthermore, I don't have a car or garden so no water wastage there either (I'm basically a saint).
OK, so this isn't going to change the fact that the south east is in drought and that reservoir levels are seriously low, but if everyone cut down just a little then perhaps we can help the supplies we do have go a bit further.
On the subject of marathon training, I will be running the Brighton Marathon on April 15 to raise money for WaterAid (see I said I was doing my bit) if you'd like to donate please visit: http://www.justgiving.com/JonandCarysrunBrighton2012 many thanks!Carys Matthews