Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink!


Do we realise how vital water is as a resource? Human beings can survive for days without food, but without water you die in 24 hours. Given this, why as a species are we so wasteful with water? In the last hundred years, there has been huge amounts of ‘progress’. One example is plumbing. In the developed world or ‘over-developed’ plumbing is seen as a need. Every house needs an indoor toilet, at least two sinks, and bath/shower. However, newly built houses have two toilets, family bathroom (sink, toilet, bath, and shower), en-suite for the master bedroom. This is seen as a necessity for a modern family in the over-developed world. Do we understand the amount of water resource this takes?

A flushable toilet has provided improved hygiene. It has stopped the spread of disease from flies, bacteria and viruses, which are the vital organisms for breaking down our excretions. However, the water used is the same water that can be drunk, used to water plants to provide us with food, and clean hands to reduce the level of infection from bacteria and viruses. Why? From my perspective modern plumbing has failed. There should be a system to provide two different types of water. One level of cleaning water for cleaning and drinking, and another form of water for the toilet. Or use the water to wash your hands before it flushes the toilet.

People get angry about having to pay for water. We think of it as a right. This is because it comes through a tap and you can just use this resource. However, there is a cost to providing water that is drinkable and will not spread infections. This is why sewage treatment centres are needed, high quality pipes and now there are desalination plants (e.g. Thames Water). These provide us with water security and in turn food security, as lot of agriculture depends on irrigation. In some parts of the world, water is still a scarce resource, however there are innovations such as the innovation by Michael Pritchard.

There is a shift, slowly, in understanding water. There are more water butts, and rainwater is increasingly used for gardening. Some families are going further here is a great example of gathering water and using it in the flushable toilet.

The next time you fill up your kitchen sink and start to do the washing up, please think before wasting lots of water…..

All power to the sink!


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