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Water re-use and rainwater harvesting

It might seem difficult to believe, as the weather forecasts warn of yet more rain, but it was only two years ago that parts of Britain were starting to recover from two years of extremely low rainfall. Dry, cold, wet, hot – the meteorological rollercoaster ride of the past three or four years has been exceptional.

With this in mind, water re-use and rainwater harvesting might seem to be a good solution in dry periods. The technology has been around for a while, and per capita consumption of water can be significantly reduced if it is used properly.

Water UK, with the Environment Agency, Defra, and the University of Brighton, held a seminar earlier this year to consider what the barriers were to greater take up of these water efficiency measures, and what could be done to overcome those barriers. It emerged that:

  • robust data on re-use and harvesting schemes is sketchy
  • codes and standards sometimes prevented greater use of these schemes rather than encouraged them
  • some people in the past had been put off by technology that was difficult to maintain or costly in terms of energy use.

We are now working with our seminar partners on how we can address some of these problems. It may be that re-use and harvesting schemes will have only a small part to play in reducing overall water consumption, but nevertheless it’s important that those who do want to go ahead with these schemes find it easy to do so.

Water re-use seminars

Sarah Mukherjee