As anglers are only too aware these days, our rivers have never been under more pressure from abstraction and global warming. However, we can all do our bit when it comes to using less water. Besides helping our rivers, we can also help our wallets with lower bills! Here are ten great water saving tips from National Regions Manager and keen river angler John Cheyne.
The combination of global warming and increased abstraction for drinking water is causing our rivers a serious problem. Low water levels are not good for rivers or the diverse aquatic life they support and they are certainly not good for fish and fishing.
Low water levels mean that rivers heat up more in the sun and that means lower oxygen levels which causes fish stress and can even be fatal. Algal blooms are also made more likely and any pollution that enters a river is less diluted and therefore more likely to cause serious damage. All in all it’s a recipe for disaster for our rivers and anglers should be aware of the needs of fish during dry, hot conditions. I wrote a blog about how water temperatures affect fish and fishing a while a go, so please give it a read.
Rain doesn’t fall evenly over the country, in fact the vast majority of UK rainfall lands on the west side of the country (as illustrated in the brilliant 3D rainfall map below) so rivers in the south and east tend to suffer the most.
With a growing population and one of the highest rates of water usage per head of population in Europe this is a problem that is only going to get worse unless there is a long term political solution found. The Angling Trust have been lobbying for abstraction reform and a range of other measures to be introduced for some time. You can read about our work on this here.
As individuals and as families we can play our own part too. On average every person in the UK uses around 150 litres of water a day which is double the use of some other European countries. If we all make little changes to the way we use water at home, it can really help. So here are our Top Ten Tips for saving water
TIP ONE Make sure you’re not using more water than you need when you flush the loo. Most water companies will provide you with a water saving device that goes in the cystern of your toilet which will save a few litres of water every time you flush. Over the course of a year that really mounts up !
- TIP TWO In the summer it’s lovely to have a long cold drink of water, but many of us end up “running the tap” until the water is nice and cold before we fill up our glass. This wastes litres of water, so why not fill up a bottle with water and keep it in the fridge. That way you’ll have lovely cold water whenever you want it and if you buy a cool looking bottle it will look trendy too !
- TIP THREE If you are a keen gardener then the biggest saving you can make it to stop using a sprinkler to water your plants. Instead use a watering can wherever possible and pour the water directly on the base of your plants. That way it get’s straight to the roots where they need it and every drop benefits the plant.
- TIP FOUR When you are planting up hanging baskets, pots and containers, always use some water saving gel. This comes as a fine granules and looks a bit like sugar, but is brilliant for retaining moisture in the soil and means that you don’t need to water your plants nearly as often..which means you have more time to go fishing ! Double Win !
- TIP FIVE Buy a water butt and come up with as many other ways of storing water in your garden as possible. Lot’s of people have a water butt attached to the downpipe on their house, but you can do the same on your shed or summer house too. The more rainwater you store, the less tap water you need to use.
- TIP SIX Use mulch on flower beds to help stop water evaporating. Bark chips, well rotted manure or homemade garden compost all work brilliantly. They will help your plants flourish and mean you have to water less often…more fishing time again !
- TIP SEVEN Get a water meter. Water meters are fitted free by water companies and once you know how much you are using it’s much easier to keep a track of how much you are saving.
- TIP EIGHT Fix leaky taps. A leaky tap can waste something like 5000 litres of water a year, so get that wrench out and buy a 20p washer.
- TIP NINE Turn off the tap when you are brushing your teeth. Leaving the tap running can use up to 24 litres of water every time you brush, so make that tiny effort and turn it off and you could be saving 1000’s of litres a year as a family.
- TIP TEN Put a full load in when you use your washing machine. Many washing machines will use the same amount of water, no matter how much you put in, so always trying to wash a full load will save a lot of water over a year.