We can once again take a look at one of the themes that will be a focus of Envirolution on 21st July at Platt Fields Park in Manchester. This time it’s the turn of Water.
Water in our rainy city is often seen falling from the grey skies. Like many environmental concerns, the on drought reports you hear in the news the south east is hard to contectualise within your own community, especially when there is water falling all around. But the story of water is a little more complex.
Britain is experiencing a depletion of its water levels, even with the changing climate unpredictability bringing the wettest April on record, due to several dry winters. But as I was reading in a guardian article the short term variations may just be covering up a more serious situation with water conservation being at the forefront of the debate. It seems that equality is just as relevant to water as it is to everything else. For example, a sprinkler running for an hour can use 1,000 litres, more than the average family of four get through in a day. A 30% reduction in domestic water use being needed to secure water supplies for the future and at present, most people pay about £1 a day for an unlimited supply of drinkable water. This has lead for engineers to call for compulsory meters with differential pricing as a must for water conservation.
Do we really know how much water we use? A quick look online led to a personal calculator that would hopefully give me the answer. My results came back at 804 cubic meters a year, which is about two thirds of the global average of 1234. My results were kept low through the fact I am a vegetarian and my income is not too large. But as I mentioned before this is a little more complex.
There is concept of the water footprint or virtual water that looks at how much water is used to produce the things that we use. One interesting example is coffee, interesting in the fact it is a drink and also due to coffee being the most valuable trading commodity. I found that it can take up to 140 litres of water to produce 0.125 litres of coffee with tea only doing slightly better as the production of one cup of tea requires 35 litres of water in average.
Going back to the idea of to contectualse these issues into your community, what does water mean to us in everyday life. One real concern, at least for Envirolution, is water purification in the form of preventing algae in the lake at Platt Fields Park. The lake is a great resource that unfortunately has been out of action in recent years due to green and blue algae, The Friends of Platt Fields do an excellent job in their attempts to combat the algae with the use of barley straw.
Although one other project that I have come across in Manchester may also be able to offer a hand. There is a group in Gorton who are looking into the application of Effective Micro-organisms. There is a multitude of potential uses of which one is water purification but will it be able to safe the lake from algae?
Finally, another water related topic that we will be looking at this years Envirolution is the Common Fisheries Policy with Greenpeace. We will be looking at whether we can all become fishermans fiends and get a sustainable fishing policy.