Friday, 10 June 2011

A Spout of Drought?

Reservoirs around the UK are drying out following, what the Guardian has coined ‘the driest March in 50 years’. Some parts of Cambridgeshire had less than 2mm of rainfall during this month which is less than normally recorded in the Sahara desert for this time of year according to the Centre for Hydrology and Ecology. A representative from the Centre for Hydrology and Ecology was reported as saying back in April that “a dry April could lead to a significant deterioration in the resources outlook, so we need to keep a careful eye on things over the next few weeks.” As many of you can probably remember April was pretty dry too!
The drought also has the potentially to affect our food supply. Without enough water to harvest crops flood prices are expected to rise. The Guardian has reported that Ministers will meet with farmers, supermarkets and utility companies this week to assess the threat of this drought becoming an environmental and agricultural disaster.
Ecological damage is also likely with low river levels across the country which of course is impacting upon fish levels and plant species.
Therefore the next few weeks will be critical for water companies, farmers and wildlife and unless we get prolonged rainfall soon, water companies may have to restrict the amount of water we use in the form of a hosepipe ban. In some regions water companies are already on alert.
If a hosepipe ban is put in place you could try and reduce your water consumption in the following way:
·          Don’t let the water in whilst washing the dishes;
·          Collect used water for watering houseplants;
·          Water your lawn either n the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler;
·          Take timed showers;
·          Use the washing machine and dishwasher only when full;
·          For cold drinks keep jugs of water in the fridge instead of running the tap;
·          Wash fresh fruit and vegetables in a bowl of water instead of running the tap;
·          When running a bath, plug the tub before turning the water on;
·          Collect water from your roof to water the garden;
·          Teach your children about water conservation;
·          Avoid recreational water toys;
·          Turn water off whilst brushing your teeth; and
·          Wash your car and pets on the grass to water the lawn at the same time.
Whilst this may seem like a negative to most people maybe this is what the countries needs to make the public realise how much water we waste as a nation. During previous droughts people have thought of innovative ways to reduce consumption and we now need to teach younger generations the importance and value of reducing water. The tips above are really useful and can be used in everyday life without much effort. If we are forced to take these measures then once the hosepipe ban if lifted then we may as well continue these measures to conserve water in the future and help fight climate change.
I know I say it all the time but seriously, is this Mother Natures way of fighting back? This year we seem to have had so many environmental issues all over the world, floods, forest fires, tornado's, earthquakes, tsunami’s, volcanic ash clouds and now a potential drought!  Should we not be listening and trying to make a difference?

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