Thursday, April 05, 2007
Why Save Water
Amy asked "Why bother?" I understand what she means. Water costs nothing. You turn on a tap and it comes - clean, cold, pure, delicious. It never runs out. It's always there. So why save it?
In one sense, water is an infinitely renewable resource. It never runs out because it just cycles round and round. You drink it, but it isn't gone - sooner or later you'll pee it out, it will get processed and return to the rivers and seas. You spill it, it evaporates and goes back to the clouds, to rain down and return to the reservoirs. Your pipes leak? So what? It all goes back to the groundwater where it was pumped out of in the first place.
On the other hand, because it is a (more or less) closed cycle, we can't make any more of it. But the population is growing rapidly, and our use of water is going through the roof. One of these days you're going to turn the tap on - and nothing will come out.
If that isn't reason enough to save water, think of the resources needed to collect the water (how much energy does it take to build a dam?), to clean the water, to store it and to pump it to where it is needed. When you think of all the energy that has gone to produce each pint of tapwater, it seems much more important to conserve it.
Put it this way - it takes 9 bottles of Evian to flush your toilet just once. 30 bottles of Perrier to take a shower or 80 bottles to take a bath. It takes 20 of those big 5 litre bottles of Volvic to run a washing machine. If you actually bathed in mineral water, people would think you were crazy. But the water that comes out of the tap is just pure, just as as expensive to produce and just as precious as the stuff you pay for at the supermarket. Next time you flush the loo, imagine pouring nine bottles of Buxton spring water into the cistern before you could flush it. Wouldn't you put a brick or two in it, to save one of those bottles?