Rainwater Harvesting & Greywater Systems Dorset, Dorchester, Blandford, Bridport and Christchurch
Ways to Conserve and Preserve Water
We are very lucky to live in a part of the world where we have developed a water system that delivers fresh drinking water to our taps so freely that most of us do not give it a second thought. We have water to use to drink, bathe in and wash with and water is also used at a commercial level in all sorts of ways from producing power, to cooling mechanisms in factories, to treating sewage effectively and quickly.
However, the unpredictable and unseasonable weather that we have experienced in recent years in the UK has brought difficulties to our water system. That plus the ever-growing population and demand for water has meant that the government has had to give serious thought to how best to conserve our water supply and use it with maximum efficiency.
At the moment, each of us uses around 150 litres of water per day: the government’s plan aims to reduce this to 130 litres. The reason for this is simple: we cannot sustain the current amount of water usage without causing serious harm to our environment and without costing ever greater amounts of money in water rates.
You can reduce CO2 emissions and save energy (and costs) by saving water by doing simple things such as turning off the taps when not in use (e.g. whilst brushing your teeth), flushing the toilet only when necessary (and perhaps installing half a brick in the cistern to reduce the amount of water used per flush).
But there are two ways in which you can act to reduce your consumption of fresh water by using other forms of water: harvesting rainwater, and using ‘grey water.’ As well as reducing the demand for mains water (and therefore reducing the impact on the environment through the amount of energy needed to process mains water) these methods can also save you money if you are on a water meter.
Some people have water butts in their garden, perhaps located beneath a drain leading from a garage, greenhouse or house roof to collect rainwater as and when it falls. This is an easy and effective way of collecting rainwater and you can use what you have collected to water your garden during dry weeks or months, or when water restrictions (hosepipe bans) are put in place.
Water butts are available to buy from water supply companies or from garden centres or DIY shops.
Alternatively you can install an actual rainwater harvesting system in your garden: this is a tank sunk into your garden and covered over with paving stones or decking from which pipes allow you to access water to use in your garden or in your home (e.g. to flush the toilet).
Grey Water Systems
‘Grey water’ is the term given to all forms of water that comes out of your house except for the water used by your toilet. For example, the water left over from your bath, or the water used by your shower, washing machine, dishwasher or even just washing your hands or brushing your teeth is grey water.
This waste water goes back down the drain and back into the water treatment process, but installing a grey water recycling system can put that water to more effective and environmentally-friendly use. Those systems collect the water and treat it sufficiently to allow it to be reused (though not for drinking) – so it can be used to flush toilets or water the garden. Using grey water rather than fresh mains water to flush toilets and water the garden makes much more sense than wasting fresh, drinkable water on those functions and helps to preserve the fresh water for when it is truly needed.
To reduce the impact on the environment of continued overuse of mains water, and to reduce the impact of future water restrictions on your household, consider using these methods for a sustainable future.