The drought is back – but no need to build canals

24/06/2011 | The drought is back – but no need to build canals Here we go again. We are running out of water. Large areas of northern Europe are facing drought after one of the driest European springs on record, and DEFRA has said that areas of East Anglia are in drought, with parts of the Midlands, South West and South East in a ‘near-drought’ state. Grandiose schemes are being proposed by leaders such as Boris Johnson who is suggesting we move water from Wales and Scotland by canal and this has resulted in an immediate call, from some, for the Welsh Government to be given greater power over Wales' natural resources. “It’s all very well proposing vast and expensive infrastructure projects which are politically charged and take decades to complete,” comments Yvonne Orgill chief executive of the Keele University–based Bathroom Manufacturers Association, “but what we need is action, now. And, actually, everything is already in place to quickly and quite easily reduce householders’ water consumption. Our own research and proposal for a WC Scrappage Scheme is well advanced.” Water Efficient bathroom products Our bathroom industry has been working really hard over the last few years to introduce technically advanced and stylish bathroom products which consume the minimal amount of water yet still give the bathing experience we have become accustomed to. Super-low-flush WC suites are steadily replacing the 13 and 9 litre water guzzlers which are still so common in the UK. The latest 3 litre dual flush pans are no more expensive than their single flush 6 litre counterparts but their consumption figures speak for themselves. Some manufacturers have gone a stage further and have introduced WCs which are flushed with the ‘grey-water’ waste from the washbasin and bath or with harvested rainwater from the roof. Showering and bathing have seen real innovation too. The design of eco-showerheads which mix water with air to create a champagne-style drenching has reached maturity; as have digital shower controls which, by default, are more eco-friendly. Low volume baths have been brought to market which use mouldable memory foam materials to save interior space and save the volume of water required. The Water Efficient Product Labelling Scheme To assist both professionals and DIY-ers identify the latest sustainable products the BMA introduced the Water Efficient Labelling Scheme. This on-line database of water efficient bathroom products has grown massively in the last twelve months. Over 1500 products in nine categories are now listed. The WEPLS database can be used to identify the best available products to ensure that new bathrooms are the most water efficient possible. www.water-efficiencylabel.org.uk Then, using the accompanying list of over 1100 nationwide stockists users can search for their local retailer for the best deals on the best products “Bathroom products which save water and energy are already on the shelves,” says Orgill. “What we need now is government to encourage their installation and an instant reduction in water consumption will be the result. Canal building takes time.”

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