We've run out of water for good reason. The sun has started to come out and we have more plants. Our rickety old white picket fence was taken down and replaced by a hedge that needs watering to help it grow. We've bought more plants and in order to keep Zafra away from the pond we've added to the garden large growing pots with more water-thirsty vegatables. I've noticed that all the plants had been looking a little weary but didn't realise it was just because I wasn't watering them enough - apparently in this sunlight and with this little rain (I geniunely don't remember the last time it rained properly in Bournemouth, even though we had moments of rain today), I should be watering the plants twice a day... and I was doing it once every two or three days! So with my new watering regime, with significantly more plants to water and with no rain to top up the water butt, it's easy to see why we ran out of water so quickly.
|Indoor water usage statistics from the US|
Looking at www.waterfootprint.org really brings water usage into perspective. Most people are aware of the notion that everyone has a "carbon footprint" but now more people are considering an awareness of an individual "water footprint." What many people don't realise is that around 85% of our water usage comes from the consumption of agricultural products, particularly in feeding animals in preparation for turning them into meat - thankfully I've been a veggie for around a decade now.... one kilo of beef takes 15,500 litres of water. I'm also off the hook when it comes to coffee since I don't drink it - every cup of coffee takes 140 litres of water in production (tea, by the way (which I also don't drink) takes about 35 litres of water per cup). But then I run into trouble - a 125ml glass of wine takes 120 litres of water to create. One slice of bread takes 40 litres of water. One slice of bread! Not one loaf, but one single slice. We make our own bread at home and it only uses a tiny amount of water... here. But growing the flour takes a huge amount of water. I'm now slightly horrified to realise that every slice of bread takes 40 litres of water. But not as horrified as I might be to realise how much water is used to make the thing that I often put on bread - cheese! One kilo of cheese takes 5000 litres of water. I may not usually eat 1 kilo of cheese at a time, but I will eat a lot of cheese in time and will therefore be responsible for the usage of a lot of water. Rice is the same - every kilo of rice takes 3400 litres of water. It's not just food - every one sheet of A4 paper takes 10 litres of water to create and I use a lot of paper in my work.
Everything we do uses so much water and knowing all this really brings into perspective the need to be unbelievably careful with our water usage. So I'll have to take some steps...
Firstly, I really have to fix the dripping tap in the nursery. A dripping tap can waste 4 litres of water a day.
Secondly, we really should reduce the amount of water used in every toilet flush - apparently a brick wrapped in a plastic bag does the trick (the plastic bag is essential otherwise the brick breaks down in the water and can damage the entire system).
Thirdly, I'm going to have to do more weeding. Weeds take water from the plants that we want to grow, meaning that more water is needed on the same bed. I never thought that being environmental would involve more weeding.
Fourthly, as I mentioned before, we're going to have to buy more water butts to catch all the water that falls on our roof. At the moment we have one water butt near the back, but there's definitely space for two or three more, including at least one at the front of the house.