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to not understand how you waste water

(83 Posts)
moogster1a Fri 01-Jul-11 08:32:34

if you leave a tap on all day / flush the loo loads/ wash every item of clothing you own, the waste water goes down the pipes and basically to waste water treatment plants, cleaned up, and put back in the clean water system.
I see how this can be expensive, but the water isn't actually wasted, so why are we encouraged to use the same amount as if we were living on the skeleton coast of Namibia?

woollyideas Fri 01-Jul-11 08:36:17


Cattleprod Fri 01-Jul-11 08:39:57

It's not about the amount of water, unless there is a drought (have you seen reservoirs in the middle of a hot summer), but treating a ridiculous amount of extra water because some people waste it uses up more energy, manpower, resources etc.

Also afaik, treated water goes back to the sea, it's not a closed system in which the same small quantity of water is recycled again and again.

2cats2many Fri 01-Jul-11 08:42:42

London has less Average annual rainfall than Dallas, Texas. This lack of rainfall is exacerbated by lots of people living here and the water infrastructure being very old and leaky. Hence, where I live, I do feel the need to save water.

Strawbezza Fri 01-Jul-11 08:44:18

Waste water treatment plants? You mean sewage works. The water is nowhere near drinkable after going through a sewage works. Drinkable water comes from rain or boreholes, and is cleaned and treated before entering the system. It is not an infinite resource.

moogster1a Fri 01-Jul-11 08:46:36

But most rainfall comes from water which has evaporated off the seas, so the dirty water that enters the sea is eventually going to come down as rain and can be used as clean water

MindyMacready Fri 01-Jul-11 08:50:28


BitOfFun Fri 01-Jul-11 08:53:06

I have always wondered this too. Good question, OP.

southeastastra Fri 01-Jul-11 08:53:35

don't get the biscuit faces why bother posting that face? :S

i think it's quite a good question myself

tallulahxhunny Fri 01-Jul-11 08:57:23

if you leave a tap on all day / flush the loo loads/ wash every item of clothing you own, the waste water goes down the pipes and basically to waste water treatment plants, cleaned up, and put back in the clean water system.

really? I never knew that, thats made me feel a bit ill tbh. i better start drinking vodka or something instead of water!!

southeastastra Fri 01-Jul-11 08:59:53

tallulah have you never seen the classic auntie mabel poo episode grin

moogster1a Fri 01-Jul-11 09:01:23

i also thought water was drinkable after going through sewage works. isn't that the whole idea of them?

LilBB Fri 01-Jul-11 09:03:00

I dont get it either and never have. I don't understand how water can run out cos it never leaves does it? I'm clearly just too dim. If a reservoir is empty why can't they get water out the sea and clean it?

CheerfulYank Fri 01-Jul-11 09:08:13

I've wondered that too, TBH. We used to watch a video in school with the tune: "The pilgrims drank it/The dinosaurs drank it/And now you're drinkin it tooooooo..." with the lesson that it's all the same water.

I did feel awful today dumping out an entire pool full. (The ground wasn't level where we'd put it and we had to bring it elsewhere.) It was a lot of "good" water and I wanted to ship it off somewhere where they don't have clean water. sad I should have put it in buckets or something and saved it for the dog's dish or watering plants, etc.

HelloKlitty Fri 01-Jul-11 09:11:22

Dont be giving the OP bisuits! She doen't understand...she's not advocating waste ass far as she sees it.

fluffles Fri 01-Jul-11 09:12:59

waste water goes into the sea after a huge amount of energy has been expended to clean it.

we then have to wait for the planet's energy systems to evaporate the water into clouds and then for the clouds to rain over land before the water gets back into the reserviors and we can again expend a huge amount of energy sterilising it for drinking.

and most rain falls in places with lots of it (lake district, scotland) rather than where the water might have been used (east anglia, kent).

it is possible to deslinate sea water (take the salt out) but it is really really expensive.. they do this a little bit in southern spain, but it's so hard and expensive it's actually probably cheaper to buy in bottled water from wetter areas.

cookcleanerchaufferetc Fri 01-Jul-11 09:13:50

Because it is easier to get us consumers to be careful about water rather than the water companies facing up to the real problem .... leaking pipes.

More water is wasted through leaking pipes than what the nation wastes.

Plus this country is becoming overcrowded and so more resources are being used ....

fluffles Fri 01-Jul-11 09:14:01

i think that they might desalinate sea water in Dubai too but then Dubai is an incredibly rich country.

CheerfulYank Fri 01-Jul-11 09:14:29

There, now that's perfectly understandable. Thank you fluffles !

moogster1a Fri 01-Jul-11 09:18:05

Good explanation Fluffles, but the water isn't actually wasted is it? it's just expensive to treat. The rain does fall mostly in the lakes etc. but it's still there. it's a question of having the infrastructure to transport it rather than that the water has disappeared after being used,

2cats2many Fri 01-Jul-11 09:19:10

Thames Water are building a desalination plant on the outskirts of london. They are expensive to run and take loads of energy, but its cheaper than fixing all the leaky pipes apparently.

TheSecondComing Fri 01-Jul-11 09:23:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

straightoutofthebottomdrawer Fri 01-Jul-11 09:24:54

There wouldn't be water issues anywhere in the world if human beings had enough energy supplies to desalinate unlimited quantities of seawater, clean foul water, and transport clean enough water to all the dry places that could use it. As it is, we don't have the energy, so being careful with water use makes more sense, and that applies everywhere. Every pint of drinking water represents a certain amount of energy expended to get it into that state.

I agree that water companies need to fix their leaks but that doesn't IMO absolve us ordinary people of the responsibility to take care with it too.

BunnyWunny Fri 01-Jul-11 09:28:01

When industries waste gallons and gallons I don't see why I should economise on my weekly bath or leave the toilet full of piss or let my pot
plants die.

AuntieMonica Fri 01-Jul-11 09:30:13

i've dunked the biscuits doled out by PPs, in the tea i've just drunk reading this very interesting thread!

i've often asked this question, even my BIL (who works for Severn Trent Water) couldn't answer me as well as the desalination explanation given here!

MN has changed my life today wink

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