Water Works

Getting wise about water issues

“Water is precious. Although water covers three quarters of the earth, only a small fraction is accessible to human beings as fresh water.

Water is critical to nourishing and fostering life. Water is vital to our existence and to our social and economic development.

While water is taken for granted in many parts of the world and often wasted, 1.4 million children die each year from lack of access to safe drinking water.”

United Nations Under-Secretary -General Anwarul K. Chowdhury’s essay on the importance of  freshwater for human survival, for inclusion in the book, Waters Letters from Around the Globe 2005click to read

Water Works

Local educational charity the Footprint Trust launched an initiative entitled Water Works in 2006, which is working with the Isle of Wight’s community to promote the benefits of sustainable living. The IW AONB Sustainable Development Fund has supported the project, along with EU, Leader+, the Ernest Cook Trust and Southern Water.

The aims of the project are being achieved by raising awareness of the need to use water resources more efficiently. The project has become all the more relevant as water shortages throughout south east England led to a house pipe ban and other water conservation measures.

The pumping of fresh and wastewater has many impacts on the environment including the vast amounts of energy used in the process.Three per cent of all energy used by British industry is used by the water companies to transport water and sewage. Every bit of water wasted wastes energy and increases CO2 emissions. Even without a drought we should be aware of the environmental costs of transporting water.

The Isle of Wight imports some 25% of its water from the mainland depending on demand. This puts a particular strain on natural resources.

In common with the rest of the South East we have a shortage of water. Sustainable management of this important resource is essential to the health of the environment. Today we all use 50% more water than 25 years ago – we use around 160 litres per person every day. The population has grown dramatically in the prosperous south east in recent decades and our individual demands for water has also increased.

One way the Trust seeks to reduce waste by promoting water efficiency in gardens and the home. The charity attends public events on the Island to promote water efficiency and sustainable living.

The Footprint Trust has recently praised an innovative Island invention the NuCan which is a very efficient watering can. It will be taking the NuCan to its displays to highlight its benefits. www.nucan.co.uk

Don Roe of the Footprint Trust explains the project;

‘The Water Works project seeks to raise awareness of the need to use water wisely. By reducing water wastage we can reduce the impact on resources and wildlife. The activities we plan have helped children and their families appreciate the water environment and the need to conserve it. The project is aimed at both local people and visitors. Demonstration drought tolerant gardens were created in public places during 2007.’

A simple leaflet [ Click to read ] giving guidance to gardeners on water efficiency has been published and distributed through libraries and public events. Information has been published in the Beacon and I.W County Press. The Trust gives away around 1,000 Southern Water ‘Save-a-Flush’ bags per year, which save a litre of water with every flush of the toilet.

Our Winter 2007 Newsletter has details of the success of the project, click here to read it [PDF]

The Trust is a member of the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) which promotes sustainable technologies including rain-water harvesting.

Get involved

You and your family, school, church and business can get involved in the Waterworks project. Become a Water-Watcher by looking for ways in which to save water.

  • Design posters for your washroom or toilets
  • Place Southern Water ‘Save-a-Flush’ bags in large cisterns
  • Create a drought-tolerant garden
  • Report leaking taps and pipes

The Footprint Trust has produced this mouse-mat made from recycled car tyres, and distributed 1,000 of them to Island Schools, Libraries and Help Centres

The Footprint Trust can visit Isle of Wight schools, churches and community buildings and give you ideas on water saving. For more details please email us ray@footprint-trust.co.uk   or Tel (01983) 822282.

Invest in Water Efficiency

Looking to replace your old dishwasher or washing machine? Buy a new water efficient model.


Water on the web

Being water wise – www.waterwise.org.uk/

Be Wise with Water – www.southernwater.co.uk/homeAndLeisure/waterEfficiency/default.asp

Sustainable Use of Water? – http://www.wwf.org.uk/what_we_do/making_the_links/livelihoods_and_natural_resources/sustainable_water_management.cfm

People and Water – http://www.peopleandplanet.net/doc.php?id=593

Policy for Parliament – www.blueprintforwater.org.uk

Environment Agency – www.environment-agency.gov.uk

Work out your water consumption – http://www.thameswater.co.uk/cps/rde/xchg/corp/hs.xsl/3786.htm

Rainwater Harvesting

Ponds and Waterways Helplines

Below are useful phone numbers relating to Ponds and Waterways on the Isle of Wight.

POLLUTION TO WATER e.g. by oil / chemicals / sewage
Environment Agency 0800 807060

Environment Agency 0800 807060

INJURED WILDLIFE–swans – birds – bats etc
RSPCA 840287

INJURED WILDLIFE – seals – dolphins – sea mammals
Marine Life Rescue 01825 765546

FOOTPATHS – blocked or obstructed
IW Council 821000

· On public footpaths/highway/parks IW Council 821000
· On private land Contact landowner

FLY-TIPPING OF HAZARDOUS WASTE or large amounts of industrial waste
Environment Agency 0800 807060

FLY-TIPPING OF HOUSEHOLD WASTE or small amounts of commercial waste
IW Council 821000

ILLEGAL FISHING – poaching etc
Environment Agency 0800 807060

FLOODING/FLOOD RISK – river blocked by tree etc
Environment Agency 0800 807060

VERMIN INFESTATON – rats – mice – blowflies
IW Council 821000

WILDLIFE HABITATS – Destruction and damage
Police Wildlife Liaison Officer 0845 045 45 45

WATERMAINS/SEWAGE –burst/leaking
Southern Water Leakline 0800 820 999

TREES – Felling/damage
IW Council 821000