Water, life and responsibility.


In two of my recent posts I talked about water. Once in terms of coping with the current heat, (It is actually rather cooler today as I write.) and once in the context of some welcome rain on the allotment.

Today I am thinking about our responsibility when it comes to water. The climate here in East Anglia is described as semi-arid. This is evidenced when I cycle through the Fens by the number of farmers irrigating their land as the yield they would get without this is very low. I too irrigate my land (allotment) though using watering cans rather than hoses and pumps.

When it comes to the garden we collect water from the roof to fill two IBC’s which take 1,000litres each. The filling of these over the winter months it minimises the amount of water we need to take from the tap each year. We can also get a £45 approx discount on our sewerage charge by doing this because it means the water does not need to be treated at the sewerage plant. Bath and shower water is collected in buckets to flush the loo and use of this is minimised by the use of urine as an activator for compost heaps providing a rich source of nitrogen.

Why does this matter? I suspect some will be asking, just as a few other will be saying that this is obvious and old hat!

While there are people who don’t believe what science tells us, our climate is changing. The increased chaos in the system means extreme weather events are getting more common and are likely to become even more frequent still. This means slowing down the rate at which water flows to our river systems can help prevent floods. Having a reservoir of water means we will still have some for our plants even if there is a drought and a hosepipe ban.

These actions will not make a massive difference on their own though if everyone who could used these measures urban flooding would be greatly reduced and the cost of water bills would also be a lot lower.

Plans for the future include a composting toilet which would reduce water usage still further as well as providing more organic matter making the soil more moisture retentive which will also reduce the need for watering. Other ways of making the soil more moisture retentive include using home made compost, collecting wood chip donated by local tree surgery firms and grass clippings from neighbours’ lawns.

This is not just a domestic issue. Most cut flowers bought in UK come from abroad, many from Africa where they are flown in or from Holland where they are grown using greenhouses heated using fossil fuels. The ones from Africa are also often grown using Artesian water which prevents the water being used for growing food domestically. Buying these flowers contributes to famine and is a trade that in my view should be banned.

Yes there are times when I waste water using more than I should. My own habits in this regard are far from perfect. However I continue to work to improve in this regard.

One last thing about water for this post. Enjoy it! Enjoy it whether you are drinking it on it’s own or as still the largest part of a glass of wine or as I did the other night the sounds of it coming down, punctuated by flashes of light and claps of thunder!

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