Thursday, November 26, 2009

Water saving leaflet from RBAG

Here below is our public information leaflet about saving water - it has been sent to a number of local Parish newsletters and other local press.

Water resources are under pressure: save water, save energy.

About one third of the water each person uses on a daily basis is wasted – it runs straight down the plughole. We must cut that waste.

Already, despite a seemingly wet climate, almost 25 million Britons live in areas where there is less available water per person than in Spain or Morocco. The South East of England has less water available per person than Sudan and Syria. Many of our rivers already have reduced flows and climate change forecasts suggest the amount of water available will be reduced even further during the summer. It is also likely to lead to more flooding events and it is worth noting that water saving reduces flooding.

The average Briton uses 148 litres (260 pints) of water every day. However there is also a hidden aspect to our water use, in the manufacturing of the goods we buy and the crops we eat. It takes for example 1,000 litres to grow a kilo of wheat or two kilos of potatoes and a massive 24,000 litres for a kilo of beef. We could in effect each be consuming indirectly around 1.5 to 2 million litres per year!

Transporting, heating and treating water accounts for over 6% of the UK's carbon footprint. Using less water means we cut the energy needed to treat it and we reduce our impact on the environment. It is vital we start to look at managing our water better in our manufacturing and agricultural uses but also at home.

Some water saving tips from the Ruscombe Brook Action Group

Get a 'hippo'! The Hippo reduces the amount of water in your toilet cistern by up to 30%! Alternatively place a plastic bottle in your toilet's cistern. Flushing the loo uses a third of our mains water! Take care your hippo doesn't lead to extra flushing as some cisterns are already designed to reduce flows.

Fix that drip! A dripping tap can waste up to 4 litres of water a day. Replace worn washers or fit a more efficient tap.

Spray more! Spray head taps can reduce consumption by up to 70%.

Recycle! Wash fruit and veg in a bowl rather than under the tap; then use the water for watering plants!

Sprinkle less! Sprinklers use the same amount of water in an hour as a family of four uses in a day! Install a trickle system instead which works from a water butt.

Get an Eco Showerhead! 60% of the world's hot water is for showering: NordicEco, Mira Eco or EcoCamel showerheads all massively cut water use and pay for themselves in weeks.

Reduce paving and concrete! This stops run off water

Count every drop! Support widespread water metering. If applied to all households we could reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to more than 27 times the total UK Carbon Reduction Commitment target.

Ruscombe Brook Action Group encourages responsible water use and seeks a water management strategy in the Stroud area that will properly protect us from floods and drought. We strive for improved wildlife habitats and water quality in our streams and rivers, an end to sewage leaks and a joined up approach to water that includes changes to planning, farming and house building. Call Philip Booth on 01453 755451 or Jo Bottrill on 01453 750063 for more details.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Revisioning RBAG!

Last week we had our monthly Ruscombe Brook Action Group meeting. After some discussion about what are priorities are we agreed the following:

Photo: Puckshole - photo from a year ago when we cleaned it out - see here - now needing attention again!

1. Works at Puckshole (phases I, II and III) - phase one is going ahead (see below) - phase two is tackling a water pipe that is damaging the brook and up for discussion in January. Phase three looking further at attenuation is on hold at the moment.

2. Severn Trent sewer works. A lengthy discussion on the huge progress since our first meeting some 4 years ago - we drafted a letter to seek an update on their plans as we have still seen little evidence of capital works going ahead.

3. Wider community involvement in the group and the brook - like involving schools again - our latest project is our water saving tips list which is ready to go out.

4. The Ruscombe Brook water standard - this is on hold.

5. Wider catchment issues and the Stroud Valleys Water Forum - we fed back from the recent Water Forum group - see details of the meeting before that here.

Puckshole drama

For those who don't know for some years we have sought measures to reduce the flooding at Puckshole. The flooding continues to damage the road and in the past has flooded cars and cut off a small group of houses. We were delighted to get some funds from Stroud District Council to clear the culvert and put in a grill as part of our initial efforts. Then a couple of weeks ago the contractor got on site and found part of the culvert collapsed - the work was stopped and no funds available to restart.

Philip Booth contacted various people and others also wrote and we are now delighted to learn that the District has managed to locate another source of funding to enable the culvert under the access road to be replaced - and the headwall/screen can be constructed as originally intended. A start date possibly even this month - well done to Stroud District for coming up trumps on this one.

It should be noted that in funding the replacement culvert, the Council is not accepting any riparian responsibilities for ownership or maintenance of the culvert in the future as it is seen that this should lie with the owners of the access track. All this sounds so simple but behind the scenes it has meant yet more talks with the Environment Agency, the contractors, residents and lots more.

On a positive note, the culvert has already been carefully cleaned by "365 Environmental Ltd" and a CCTV record made of the culvert condition. The survey shows the "oil drum" culvert through the builders yard to be intact and of a good circular shape. Flow through this section is also good. The survey did show that there were two sections where the metal drum had rusted and fallen away from the concrete surround, but the concrete left behind is still supporting itself.