Check out this month’s Dr Chlorine and Gas Mark 1 columns in the latest edition of Water Active on pages 4 and 25….
Drought? You’re having a laugh aren’t you?!
I’m peering through the curtain of rain pounding down on ATi Towers. On the way to work I had the pleasure of crossing Rishworth Moor and traversing the bridge across Baitings Reservoir. For those of you unfortunate enough not to live in God’s County and don’t know the spot it’s between Rochdale and Halifax. It’s a stunning commute through valleys and over verdant, lush hills.
The water level in all the reservoirs I pass by on my way to work has been dropping consistently now over the past few months as, contrary to the popular conception, it’s not always raining “Ooop North”. It actually only rains on the days that end in “y”. But seriously, we have had yet another record dry winter all over the country with rainfall in general 50-70% down. There’s talk of hose pipe bans and a drought which led me to think of how the water industry is geared for dealing with the issue.
As I see it, I’m not sure we can change the users’ habits and reduce water consumption enough to make a big difference, so UK Water plc either has to build some super reservoirs to build up stock piles in times of plenty or develop a true water grid network to shift water around the whole of the country or introduce a two tier water system of potable water and non-potable water, or a combination of all three. Any of these options require huge levels of investment but would benefit the whole country. There would be a need for cross company schemes and maybe funding at a national level. How could that work in the current set up? Deciding who would foot the bill would be tricky to say the least.
I’ve long thought that it’s crazy to spend so much time, resource, effort and money treating water to potable standard only to use 96% of it for flushing toilets, washing clothes or bathing. (http://www.waterwise.org.uk/data/resources/25/Water_factsheet_2012.pdf).
A fourth way is to develop total water management systems. Total Water Management, or TWM, is the exercise of stewardship and shared governance of water resources among utilities, business, and government for the greatest good of society and the environment.
TWM is to me at least is the best way forward, and pilot systems are already being planned and built. One scheme proposes to treat the effluent from a sewage treatment plant and use it as industrial process water. The water will be used in the product so quality and consistency of quality will be vital.
Water quality monitoring will be key to the success or failure of any way forward but especially with TWM. For an industrial user to take treated final effluent as process water will require water quality guarantees from the provider and most users will also be looking to measure the water quality coming into their plant more closely too.
Food for thought.
Gas Mark 1
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