In the Chesham area we use far more water per person than most other parts of the country. The average person in Chesham uses a staggering 176 litres of water every day! The UK average is much lower at 148 litres, but we should be aiming at the government target of 130 litres.
Until 2020, our local water company Affinity Water, pumped water from the local chalk aquifer - which also feeds the River Chess, our local, rare chalk stream. In combination with climate change, this led to the Chess drying up in Chesham with increasing frequency. The Environment Agency calculated that there was only enough water in the river to meet its environmental need 35% of the time, damaging our river and wildlife. The great news is that in 2020, Affinity Water switched off its two pumping stations in the Chesham area. Whilst there is still one other pumping station operating in the catchment, run by Thames Water, the big reducation in abstraction should help alleviate the pressure on the river.
However, this means that all of the water supplying Chesham homes and businesses is now imported from outside the catchment. This requires energy, adding to the town's carbon footprint. It's just as important now, that we use water wisely.
What Can We Do?
There are many things that we can do to save water.
The most important thing you can do is get a water meter. The majority of households in this area should now have a meter. You have the right to opt for a meter free of installation charges in most circumstances, which will allow you to keep an eye on how much water you use. Visit Affinity Water's web site to work out how much money you could save by installing a water meter:
www.affinitywater.co.uk/how-much-will-i-save.aspx and then apply for a free meter on-line:
Easy, daily changes add up to a big difference, from using a bowl to wash your fruit and veg instead of rinsing them under the tap, to watering your plants in the evening to minimise the water wasted by drying out in the sun. There are lots of tips to be found on the Affinity Water Web Site.
Think before you turn on the tap
With thanks to the Environment Agency and Affinity Water for water usage data.