Last year I posted about whether living on a narrowboat equalled a greener, more environmentally friendly existence. What did I decide? Honestly, no more so than your average house. What I do think it provides however, is an unavoidable awareness of the ecosystem around you directly and the impacts you can have. That’s something I just don’t think you appreciate on your average cul-de-sac. If you want to revisit my thoughts on that you can read ‘Are Narrowboats Eco-Friendly’ just click here.
What I want to talk about here is along the same lines, only it’s something which scares me much more than washing at 30 degrees, Water Resource. If you love a bit of worrying and relish a sleepless night read on!
Despite writing this post a couple of weeks ago it’s sat in my drafts ever since. I was worried it sounded judgemental or smarmy. Today I changed my mind and decided it was getting posted regardless. The decision was made for me when the news reported on the growing issue of water resource and how in just 25 years the UK could be looking at serious supply issues.
I can’t help but question the timing, I imagine a lot of the UK will scoff the reports given the week of heavy rain most of us have just endured. A colleague remarked last week on how he couldn’t wait for the rain to stop, I laughed and said it needs to come in heavy now. See following the crazily hot, dry summer we have had a mild and dry winter, and that’s a bit of a worry.
When you investigate water resource, or more prominently the diminishing water resource the predictions are nothing short of apocalyptic. It truly scares me. Let me hit you with a few huge facts.
- It is predicted that the global demand for water will exceed the global supply of water 40% by the year 2030. That’s just over a decade away, that will be happening within our lifetime.
- Global use of water has quadrupled in the last 100 years.
- It has been gauged that 75% of the surface water in India, 80% of the surface water in China and 46% of the surface water in the USA has been substantially contaminated.
- It is being estimated that India will, for all intents and purposes, run out of water by 2050.
In fact, smart money says to get investing in water in any way possible, whether that’s the companies who refine and distribute, or those who create the products and technologies to make that possible.
Boat life tuned me into this growing issue. See back in the house water was, literally, on tap and I thought very little of it. From ninety-minute baths to three laundry loads a week, water was infinite, I didn’t think or worry about it. Depending on a 1,000-litre tank under your porch has a habit of changing your perspective on water use.
It’s the simple things which use so much, a third of the water used in UK homes each day is simply flushed down the toilet. The average person uses 135-150 litres of water a day that’s a considerable amount! And that’s usage per person not as a household. If we operated under the UK average we’d be filling our tank every 3.333333333 days. As it stands, we get through our tank in about two weeks, some rough maths shows that we use around 74% less water a day than the average person. I find that crazy!
Now don’t get me wrong this is not a smug post, a look how conscious we are post, because had we still of been in a house I would continue, not thinking twice about water. I mean our whole existence depends on the thousands upon thousands of gallons which allow us to remain floating. But there is something about relying on a limited tank which makes you more aware of what you use, because running out of water when you’re three days from a water point, well take my word for it, that’s no fun at all. Every time you turn on the tap you hear the water pump kick in, and when you’re coming to the end of your two weeks or so of water supply you’re quietly hoping that you’ve got enough just for this cup of tea.
We try to preserve wherever we can, for example throughout the winter we will often run a dehumidifier, it’s great and pulls so much moisture out of the air. As a matter of fact it will pull about two litres of water out of the air across the week. That’s a lot of water to throw away! So we don’t, and before you worry we don’t drink it, although I imagine it would be fairly safe. I use this water for mopping the floors or other cleaning, simple pouring it away would be such a waste.
I remember being encouraged in primary school to make water preserving choices, the diminishing supplies are not something new. I guess there are little things we can all do. Living off less water isn’t difficult, we still have a washing machine, we still shower, we still use water fairly normally. Having to make an effort to have that water available though does make you more conscious of how much water you use.
The average person in the UK is using two baths filled to the brim with water every day, that’s a heck of a lot, and that’s before considering the water which goes into the items we consume. When you think of it like that it starts to sound a bit mad doesn’t it! We’ve had the focus of plastics, on cleaning up the ocean, I can’t help but think that water is the next big worry.
I was almost relieved to see this being reported in main stream media. Whilst the thought of a limited or none existent water supply seems like a faraway problem it could be affecting the UK sooner than we could imagine.
Try to be conscious about what you use, there are so many places you can make small changes and savings. Combined our water usage, or lack of, means 1.534 people can exist of what we save daily, based on the average usage.
James & Kirsty