BE WATER WISE
Photo by Sally Jones
Every drop of water that we use in our homes started off as a raindrop. Every drop of water that falls on us, our homes, or our little patch of earth flows eventually into our streams, rivers and reservoirs; and so does the water we flush or drain away. Heavy rains flowing into the drains along with sewage raises the risk of sewage overflows into our rivers. Here are some ways we can be water wise
Be water wise in your garden to reduce flooding and help wildlife.
Use tap water wisely
Reduce micro-plastic pollution
Be water wise with the clothes you buy
Be water wise with your pet care
See the Friends of the Earth advice on saving water
USE TAP WATER WISELY
Ideas from our members:
Some ideas on how to be wise with the water that flows out of your taps
Don’t flush anything other than loo paper, and don’t put rubbish or cigarette buts down drains. It could end up in rivers and the ocean.
Collect rainwater in a water butt and use this to water the garden.
Get a water meter installed by welsh water
Use the WC short flush whenever appropriate
Get leaky taps fixed
Don’t use the hose to wash the car - use a bucket. Only wash the car when it's actually dirty.
Don’t leave the tap running when brushing your teeth.
Have a quick shower to be clean. Save a long bath as an occasional treat.
Put a 1 litre plastic bottle filled with sand in your toilet cistern to save a litre a flush.
Recycle the lawn sprinkler.
BE WATER WISE IN YOUR GARDEN
Photo by Sally Jones
Severe weather events are becoming more frequent and more deadly as a result of global warming. The weather in Wales is getting wetter, windier, and wilder. Over 245,000 properties in Wales are currently at risk of flooding. While it is easy to think there is nothing we can do, there are a few small changes we can do to slow the flow of water into our drains.
Create a bog garden to store rain water and provide for wildlife
Install a water butt to capture rainwater which you can use in the garden
Remove hard landscaping to allow rain to soak into the soil
Plant a tree – in your garden or by supporting a community tree-planting event. Trees are great at taking up water and cooling the urban environment
Don’t buy peat-based compost - peat bogs are a vanishing habitat, storing vast quantities of carbon and water.
REDUCE MICROPLASTIC POLLUTION
Would you believe that microplastics have been found in the highest mountains, the deepest oceans, and even in Britain’s most iconic and remote rivers and lakes? Research done by Friends of the Earth has uncovered the frightening scale of pollution with these tiny bits of plastic, invisible to the naked eye. So where do they come from?
Car tyres are thought to be one of the biggest sources of microplastics, which are shed during driving and eventually make their way, via run-off and road drains, into watercourses.
Plastic litter releases microplastics as it breaks down; these get washed into streams and rivers.
Clothing releases microfibres – every time we wash our clothes they shed tiny amounts of fibre which ends up in rivers and eventually make their way to the ocean. And since 64% new fabrics are made of plastic such as polyester, nylon, acrylic, and polyamide – that’s an awful lot of plastic washing down the drain and ending up in rivers and seas.
Photo from Pexels
Some products we buy use huge amounts of water in their manufacture. The fashion industry uses around 93 billion cubic metres of water every year, or around 4% of all water extraction globally. To produce one cotton shirt requires around 2500 litres of water; and half of this is produced in areas where irrigation is needed for the cotton to grow. The dyeing process produces toxic effluents, much of which ends up as pollutants in local water systems. However, natural materials such as cotton and wool are preferable to synthetic fibres, which are a major source of microplastic pollution, so it’s best to choose organic cotton which uses 91% less water than non-organic cotton; and is better for the environment because pesticides are not used. So, when shopping for clothes:
Buy less but buy better
Photo by Sally Jones
Research at the University of Sussex has shown that there is widespread contamination of rivers in England with 2 pesticides commonly used in flea treatments. These pesticides include fipronil and the neonicotinoid imidacloprid. They have been banned from use in agriculture because of their environmental impact on bees and other pollinators; but are still allowed in routine treatment of dogs and cats against fleas.
These pesticides are very toxic to all insects and other aquatic invertebrates.
Concentrations are highest downstream of waste-water treatment works, suggesting that the pesticides pass from treated pets to the environment via household drains.
How can you be try to avoid contributing to this problem?
Only use pesticide treatment for your pets if absolutely necessary; try using a flea comb and don’t use them all year round ‘just in case’
Be careful how you handle your pet once treated with a pesticide – washing your hands, bedding and other surfaces can allow these pesticides to enter the environment
Don’t allow your dog to jump into ponds or rivers if they have been treated with a pesticide.
FOE 13 BEST WAYS TO SAVE WATER
Photo from FOE website
Turn off the taps
Shower with less
Save up your dirty clothes
Reduce food waste
Time your gardening
Get a low-flush toilet
No more washing up
Quality and seasonal eating
Boil what you need
Steam your veggies
Be plumbing prepared
Don't fund the water-grabbers!