10 liters down the drain – every time

by Michael Smith

Each and every time that you flush your WC in the UK – and I assume that this is not much different in the USA and Canada, for instance – you flush about ten liters of good clean drinking water down the drain.

The advice that was given last year or so by the then Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, or let's better say, by his office, of “don't rush to flush if it's only a pee” is something that we should take to heart.

Water, water to drink, is going to become more and more precious and rare if we do not stop flushing it down the drain and ultimately into the sea when it not all comes back to us as water, in the form of rain. In fact much of it is lost to us.

This is why we must make an effort to stop the wastage of water, and the flushing of the WC each and every time that we go for a pee, for instance, may be something that we must curb.

If we do not make every effort to reduce our wastage of water we will be facing a problem in the future.

Those 10 liters mentioned here is the amount of water that every flush of the lavatory sends down towards the sewerage works and then the sea, most of it never ever to be seen again on dry land. In addition to that there is the water that is wasted by taps left running while brushing teeth. It always beats me why people insist on having the tap running while they brush. It is just as easy to turn the taps off. Also, what is wrong for rinsing to use a beaker instead?

The way we treat water is as if it is just simply there. We have this “who cares” attitude about it, as if we are thinking that it will be there for ever. It may not the way we carry on.

The only way we get fresh water is through rain and that rain has to actually end up in the aquifers and not run out to sea, yet again.

However, due to the fact that we have so much of our ground concreted over and tarmacked over, the water, especially during heavy and prolonged periods of rain – if we have them – just runs into the rivers without going through the soil and ground first, causes flooding and then is off to the sea. Most of that water that thus heads that way is then lost to us for ever. The hydrological cycle that those of us that have gone to school have had explained does not actually work that way at all – at least not anymore. Hence we have to conserve water somewhat more, and this may and maybe should include rainwater harvesting.

For the use in the flushing of he lavatories gray water and harvested rainwater also could and should be used and many new housing developments in Britain, for instance, now have to have rainwater harvesting and gray water as standard, and a good idea this is, methinks.

There are, however, countries and areas where rainwater harvesting, even on a small rain barrel in he garden scale, is illegal, such as a number of States in the United States. There is it a felony to divert the rainwater away from its natural flow. Sorry, but methinks that is more that silly. In fact, I would say, it borders on the insane. Then again many statutes here and elsewhere appear to have been drafted and then passed by people who are, in fact, a few sandwiches short of a picnic.

Ii honestly sometime wonder as to whether it is a requirement to be a politician to be stupid and and imbecile, for the more I see of them and the more I observe the mammals of the genus “politicus grandicus” the more I believe this to be thus.

While we must not waste water, the opposite in fact; that is to say we must conserve it as much as possible, we should and must be able to capture and use the water that comes from the roofs of our homes in order to conserve the tap water, in that we can use it in our gardens and to flush the lavatories and such.

© M Smith (Veshengro), December 2008