Waking up to UK water shortages
Living in the UK, nightmares about prolonged droughts, water shortages and ensuing humanitarian crises are unlikely to spoil your sleep. Last week’s stark warning from Sir James Bevan, chief executive of the Environment Agency, was intended as a wake-up call.
Wasting water should become socially unacceptable
In strident language, Sir James pointed at climate change and a population boom to predict that within 25 years England would reach the “jaws of death”. By that he meant the point at which we won’t have enough water to supply our future needs. He went on to say wasting water should become “… as socially unacceptable as blowing smoke in the face of a baby.”
Sadly, most UK water users are still a million miles away from that mindset. Yet, attitudes can change. Remember waste recycling? Sceptics said it wouldn’t catch on. Now we feel guilty if we ask for a plastic shopping bag or don’t use the correct bin. We need to instil the same social awareness when it comes to unnecessarily running a tap or home appliance.
Post is in response to a BBC’s article Climate change: Water shortages in England ‘within 25 years’ – https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-47620228
Acting now can head-off the threat
Over the past 12 months, Creative EC has been working with some of the brightest minds in the UK water industry to design practical solutions that use the best technology but are simple to install and run. And that consumers will value and adopt.
One such solution, Waterfall, is being piloted for adoption by several water companies. Using an onsite sensor, it collects billing-grade data and – through machine learning – profiles water usage events and looks for anomalies as early warning of water escapes. In return, building occupants get a fully itemised bill, so they can see how to save water and money. They’re also alerted to potential problems, safe in the knowledge they can remotely shut down the supply with a mobile app at the first sign of a leak or flood.
“We are excited to see how Waterfall is helping to address these issues and promote water conservation,” said Keith Ali, MD for Creative EC. “As a company we’re passionate about applying technology to improve the world we live in, now and for future generations.”
Encouraging noticeable behavioural changes
Currently, people in England use an average of 140 litres of water a day. Baths and showers (40%) are the major consumers followed by toilets (20%) and drinking (20%).
When Waterfall is deployed, we’re seeing noticeable behavioural changes and reductions in discretionary water usage. Especially in terms of reducing shower times and consumption for baths, dishwashers, taps and washing machines.
These changes could make all the difference. In the words of Sir James, “If by 2050 we reduced per capita consumption to 100 litres a day, leakage by 50%, and did nothing else, it would provide enough water for an additional 20 million people without taking any more from the environment.”