September is ‘Save Water September’ in Marlborough

Written by Charlotte Hitchmough .

 Charlotte Hitchmough (the Director of Action for the River Kennet or ARK)  is another of Marlborough News Online’s columnists:  here she explains why “September is ‘Save Water September’ in Marlborough

The natural cycle of chalk streams means that, after the long summer, the underground aquifers feeding both our homes and our rivers are at their lowest for the year. They don’t start to fill up until winter rainfall comes. So September is a good month to think about how much water you use.

The truth is most people don’t think about turning on the tap, perhaps because they are not on a meter, or because the cost of water, relative to gas for instance, is minimal. But, if I told you that if you 25% of your household energy cost is spent on heating water you might start to think again. Or put another way, by spending 4 minutes less in your power shower each day you could save around £250 a year.

But there is a bigger reason to use water wisely. The UK has less water available per person than most other European countries. Thames Water’s resource management plan shows that keeping all its customers supplied in the next 25 years will be very challenging.

At the local level, our River Kennet is one of only 200 chalk streams left in the world, and is the perfect habitat for species including water voles, water crowfoot, river lamprey and brown trout.

The same aquifers that feed that river supply over 40,000 homes in Swindon and the Upper Kennet area with water. Every drop we use in our homes, is a drop less left for the river, and our increasing water consumption is putting pressure on the river's ability to cope.

That’s where Nick comes in. Nick Dickenson lives in Marlborough and is working with ARK and Thames Water to make Marlborough homes water efficient.  For no charge he can fit dual flush mechanisms to cisterns, replace showerheads and tap fittings, provide advice on water efficiency and even fix leaky loos.

Everyone’s home is different and Nick’s advice will be tailored to your needs. So when he knocks on your door this month, please welcome him. There is no charge and the average household will save around £80 on the water and energy costs. All Nick’s work is funded by Thames Water and he is an employee of Climate Energy. If you are unhappy with any of the devices he can come back and take them away again.

ARK is challenging Marlborough to save two million litres a year, so go on, play your part. We are already half way to that target  thanks to all the households that have said ‘yes’ to Nick. Let’s keep going.

You don’t have to wait for Nick to knock, call him on 07697 003891 and arrange a visit at a time to suit you.

Graph showing Groundwater levels at Rockley on the Marlborough Downs. The dotted line shows the ‘normal’ levels and shows how levels vary from year to year. In  2014, after a notably wet winter, groundwater levels are very healthy - but you only have to look back to the winter of 2011-12 to see groundwater levels (indicated by the black line) so low that the river dried up. You can also clearly see the natural cycle of the aquifer:  filling in winter and gently emptying during the summer.

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