Our second deep dive discussion took us outside our usual patch into Bawdsey to discuss how we can use and spend less on water, appropriately in a house that had its own hand-pumped well in the back garden.

Anglian Water - Love Every DropIn the  Anglian Water area we each use an average of 145 litres of water every day, in a region which receives less annual rainfall than Jerusalem. Although it would appear to rain here a lot, in fact the UK has less available water per person than most other European countries.

About a third of the water we use runs down the drain or toilet without being used, and just 4% is used for drinking. So the key to water efficiency is reducing waste, using less hot water will save you money on your energy bills too. The Anglian Drop 20 campaign has lots of useful and interesting facts to get you started.

Knowing how much you use if a key first step. In our group the average water bill (all being off grid so not charged for sewage discharge) ranged from £15 per month for a couple upto around £20 pm for a family of four. Those already on a water meter also typically use less than those without – so contact your water company to get a meter installed.

Our discussion mostly focused on the following areas related to water usage around the home:

  • MAGNETS – yes, a couple of those present had found powerful fixed magnets worked both suspending limescale in water (though not removing it), as well as reporting improved fuel efficiency in their car; the electro-magnet systems considered not as useful
  • CHARCOAL TABLETS – activated carbon filter blocks are a cheap equivalent to Britax-like water filters that can be dropped into a jug and kept in the fridge, cleaning the charcoal blocks monthly by boiling in water or putting out in the sunshine
  • SOAPNUTS – another money saver and laundry powder replacing using these cheap alternatives, just put and handful of soapnut cases in a linen bag along with your clothes (can be re-used about half a dozen times), along with some white vinegar plus essential oil drops in the softener dispenser for clean and fresh laundry, see this blog for more details on using soapnuts for laundry
     interestingly, a few people had tried the Ecozone Ecoballs but given up after a while as they didn’t seem to clean that well but good for light washes
  • CLEANING – VINEGAR, another wonder substance and cheap alternative to mainstream products that has thousands of uses from cleaning limescale to killing bacteria and germs, though LEMONS and BICARBinate of soda can be used too
  • SEPTIC TANKS – living off mains sewerage all households in our area need their own septic tanks or water treatment plant (unless you have space for a reed bed filter system) which strong bleaches and cleaning products can affect how they work. A few household highly recommend regular biological treatment liquid/powers (~£36 pa)  which can ensure these systems work effectively and can help minimise the number of times the tanks need to be emptied (£90 per visit)
  • ALTERNATIVE PRODUCTS – Eco Leaf was recommended too as a UK produced alternative to ECOver, and Traidcraft Fair Trade Palm Oil washing liquid
  • GREY WATER – storing bath / shower water was not recommended and should not be used on vegetable plots, but collecting roof run-off in rain water butts was popular and easy to install

Finally, the topic of ‘virtual water‘ consumption was discussed… seeing the average Briton water consumption rise unto 3,400 litres of water per day. About 70% of the embedded water coming from other nations, imported through goods and services into the UK, many of which themselves could soon suffer from water supply issues. So consider the water footprint of the items you buy, such as cotton, beef, leather, non-seasonal flowers, and use less of these water heavy goods.

domestic well in Bawdsey

Working Well

Note. The BCG does not endorse any products mentioned and people should do their own research for available products and how to use them.