This week, many of us were reminded that water is one of those things that you only miss when it’s gone. Thousands of people learnt that the hard way as the fast thaw caused hundreds of pipe bursts across the UK.
We’ve undertaken some social media analysis (something we’ll share later) and although there was a lot of negativity in the >5000 messages we’ve analysed, it was nice to see some people take the time to thank water company contractors who have been working all day and all night – often in sub-zero temperatures – to get things back on track.
It must also be quite nice to be the owner of a large rainwater harvesting tank, as some people are, thanks to visionary investment from the UK’s water companies. Those customers know they will have enough water to run their washing machine and flush their loos even when mains supplies are off.
That still leaves drinking and cooking and showering, of course – and having to ration your water-use for those items must be frustrating to say the least, and much worse than that for vulnerable users.
But all the people with a rainwater tank are, of course, using up to 50% less water – all year round. Roll that level of reduction out across a wider area, and that leaves a lot more water to go round at times of crisis.
At one recent scheme, our client’s main motivation for installing our Rainwater Management System was to slow the flow, hold back water from a low-lying town centre, and reduce the operation of CSOs into the neighbouring estuary.
But by sharing the tanks’ capacity with homeowners, the system can provide both flood alleviation and water conservation. Not to mention reduce pumping and treatment costs. And with reductions on water bills, take-up from customers is high.
So perhaps next time there’s a big thaw we’ll begin to see the resilience benefits of rainwater management systems starting to take hold?
PS It was too cold for concrete – so John spent the day giving lifts to people whose cars were stuck in south Devon.
This hardy soul didn’t need any travel help though