13, 000 cubic metres of water are being extracted from the River Kennet at Axford, each day - this is enough to fill 5 Olympic size swimming pools. The extent of this problem is examined in the BBC Panorama programme,' Drinking our Rivers Dry', which you can watch here.
Apparently it will take at least 5 years to build the pipeline that is needed to supply Wroughton with an alternative water source. Unsurprisingly the Environment Agency states that current abstraction rates from the River Kennet are 'not environmentally sustainable, and could damage habitats and species within the river', however they admit that any legal process to curtail these abstractions will be 'lengthy'.
Climate change has led to reduced rainfall in Spring and Summer in southern England. This means that the River Kennet and the wide diversity of wildlife that it supports will die unless we can reduce the amount of mains water that we use by at least 30%. Action for the River Kennet are lobbying MPs to press for more urgent action at national levels.
In the meantime we can pledge to cut down our domestic consumption by:
- reducing the water holding capacity of the toilet cistern
- washing only full loads
- measuring the water used in the kettle
- banning baths and restricting showers to 4 minutes each
- using aerators in taps to reduce flow
- keeping a bottle of cold water in the fridge
- using only rainwater to irrigate the garden
If you use Thames Water you can get all the devices you need to do this for FREE here!
If you are successful in cutting your water consumption, you will probably be able to save money by signing up for a water meter.
Calculate the savings you could make here (when I did this I realised that I could save £75 per year!) ...
and sign up with Thames Water for a water meter, here.
Read World Wildlife Fund's case study on The Impact of Over-abstraction on the River Kennet, here.