Tag Archives: sewer

Water, water everywhere…for now.

26 Jul

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After a great stretch of good weather Ireland is back to it’s more usual Summer weather.  Rain showers interspersed with sunny periods. Life is back to normal…gardens are watered from the sky and all is fresh and green again. It did amuse me that after 15 days without rain a drought was declared. In a country with such high rainfall I find that odd. How come we have such low reserves of water?

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I lived the first 10 years of my life living in a house that didn’t have piped water. We had a pump in the yard which supplied all our water. Beautiful clear spring water came from the pump after a few up and downs of the handle. As children it was our job to bring water into the house in buckets.  Most of our neighbours at that time would have been the same so we saw nothing wrong with it. It did however give me a deep appreciation of water. It is something I do not waste. It is a treasure without which life on this planet could not continue.

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Listening to the radio a few days ago Duncan Stewart…eco archicect, environmentalist and broadcaster…presented a few interesting statistics about water:

Ireland imports 4.5 billion cubic metres of bottled water every year. In a land of rivers and springs I find that very strange. Think of all the plastic bottles required. Of course plastic comes from oil so that’s a huge contribution to oil consumption.

70% of Irish food is imported. This has huge implications for water consumption as a lot of food is produced in water stressed regions of the world such as the Middle East and North Africa. Israeli food crops are often produced on settled territories  using water which  rightly belongs to Palestine. An ethical dilemma we must all judge with our buying choices.

A power shower uses 150 litres of water in 5 minutes. No comparison was given with an ordinary shower but I assume the difference would be substantial.

40% of our piped water is lost through leaks in the system. Surely it would make sense to rectify that before looking to other solutions?

There was a lot more in the discussion but those were the main ones that struck me.

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Something which has struck me recently is how the rain in Ireland has changed. From mostly soft light showers it has changed to heavy, monsoon like downpours. Climate change has given us even more rain! For me the irony is what happens to this large amount of water? Of course a certain amount falls on land and bodies of water but rain that falls on buildings is usually directed into the sewerage systems. What a waste! All that lovely water from the sky is immediately contaminated in the sewers. Surely it would make sense to collect this water for use in the public supply systems?

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Two nights ago in Dublin there was torrential rain. Houses and businesses were flooded because the sewer couldn’t cope with the extra water. At present there is a plan to build a huge water reservoir in the Midlands to supply our capital city with water.  There’s also been murmurings about bringing water from the Shannon. Meanwhile untold amounts of water are flowing into the sewers. Surely it would be more cost effective to divert this water into reservoirs or other storage systems.?

We are lucky enough to have our own well supplying the house here in Lurgan. However we also collect water from the roof in a series of barrels at every corner of the house. This water is used to water the garden and polytunnel. Washing up is only done once a day. Dishes are piled neatly and all washed up in one go in the evening.  I hate to see people washing a cup under a running tap. Wasteful!

In the middle of all this water dilemna we have our government debating whether they will allow hydraulic fracking to proceed in Ireland. A process that uses millions of litres of water for every frack.  Not to mention what to do with all the resulting polluted water. Crazy!!

Water is a finite resource…all the water that will ever be is already on the planet.

“I believe water will be the defining crisis of our century, the main vehicle through which climate change will be felt…from droughts, storms, and floods to degrading water quality. We’ll see major conflicts over water; water refugees. We inhabit a water planet, and unless we protect, manage, and restore that resource, the future will be a very different place from the one we imagine today.”

Alexandra Cousteau

“Water is the driving force in nature.” Leonardo da Vinci.

“We never know the worth of water till the well runs dry.” Thomas Fuller.

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