The Isle of Wight Society

July 2020

Sweet water from Mars?  What about Earth?

The news that three space craft are going to Mars to find out about the water on that planet is exasperating.

We should spend the money sorting out our own water problems here on Earth, and more especially here on the Isle of Wight.  

When the population of the Isle of Wight was tiny there was no problem.  People used the streams and sank wells in suitable places to find water.  Many caught water in containers.  Gutters fed the rain water into a water butt or cistern.  Some of us still do this, and gratefully use the water for the garden when the sun comes out again.  

Water supply on the Island became a problem in towns.  In early Newport elm tree trunks were used to conduct water to those house holders who paid for it.  In East Cowes in 1863 a piped water system of tile drains was laid down to stand pipes around the town.  Gradually this was extended to individual houses, and within ten years a much larger reservoir had to be built as people used more water.  

Do you remember the summer of 1976? Weeks and weeks of hot sunshine.  Our water on the Island almost ran out.  We had no pipe laid under the Solent from the mainland to supply us at that time.  Everyone saved every drop of water and used it for watering vegetables.  Bath water, after being shared, was syphoned off into the garden.  There was no wastage.  This should be the norm, even though we now have piped water from Hampshire.

Do you remember when the Isle of Wight trialled water meters in 1989?  A price was set that Southern Water thought would realise the same income for the firm. People on the Island cut down on their water consumption.  Our bill showed that usage halved.  The next year water charges went up dramatically!

So we CAN cut down and this efficiency must start AGAIN.  

The Isle of Wight Council must insist on grey water systems being used for ALL new developments.  Much of our rain water goes down the drain. It should be saved and used in the home.  The technology is there, costing a little more to install, which house developers do not like.  But if the basic price of potable, drinking, water was raised then houses with grey water systems in place could be a selling point.  Put it on the house rating system. 

We take it for granted that we can turn on a tap and drink the water.  Millions globally cannot do this. 

We are told that there will be a shortage of water nationally in twenty years time.  We cannot wait and continue to waste this precious resource.  Everyone should do their best to save water, not waste money going to Mars looking for it!

The Island Planners should take the lead and ACT NOW.  

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Isle of Wight Society
East Cowes Heritage Centre, 8 Clarence Road
East Cowes, PO32 6EP

Tel: +44 (0) 1983 280310

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