MARCH 1st 2006
It is estimated that 15% of world-wide water use is for household purposes. These include drinking water, bathing, cooking, sanitation, and gardening. Basic household water requirements have been estimated at around 50 litres per person per day, excluding water for gardens.

Most household water is treated and returned to surface water systems, with the exception of water used for landscapes. Household water use is therefore less consumptive than agricultural or industrial uses. Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_resources#Household

In the UK, we use about 200 litres per per person per day. This means we use a lot of water we don't really need. Personally I average less than 10. For that reason it is evident that where there is an area where we are short of water, meters should be installed. The alternative would be to pump water from those areas where there is a surplus to those where there is a shoratge, and this has not found favour yet amongst those examining the technical and financial criteria.

There is no reason why a basic monthly, weekly or even daily allowance of water free of charge should not be made available to ensure that even those in financial difficulty should not be deprived of water for basic hygiene and cooking. Any amount used above that should be subject to a rate required to support the industry, and above another level, to be set for each region and each quarter in advance, depending on the state of water reserves, a penalty rate which would contribute funding towards vital environmental programmes.

Metering should be applied region by region as required. Arguments against this are ridiculous. Those who don't waste water will save money. Those who waste it will be penalised. The aim of conservation and efficiency will be encouraged continuously, leading to innovative solutions over time.

March 21 2006

UN report warns on overuse of water for farming

By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent Mon Mar 20, 7:24 PM ET

OSLO (Reuters) - The overuse of water for farming is the biggest environmental threat to the world's freshwater resources and damage is likely to worsen until 2020, an international report issued on Tuesday said.

The U.N.-led Global International Waters Assessment, a review compiled by 1,500 experts, also concluded overfishing was the main problem affecting the health of the oceans.

A leading academic who helped draw up the report predicted more frequent conflicts over water in the future as supplies became scarcer.

"Overall, agriculture ranks highest as the key concern on the freshwater front," the U.N. Environment Programme said of the conclusions of the report, which also examined risks such as pollution and global warming until 2020.

"Falls in river flows, rising saltiness of estuaries, loss of fish and aquatic plant species and reductions in sediments to the coast are expected to rise in many areas of the globe by 2020," it said of the side-effects of irrigation.

"These will in turn intensify farmland losses, food insecurity and damage to fisheries along with rises in malnutrition and disease," it said.

In many cases, problems could be solved by better planning, often simply by growing crops in regions where they did not demand vast irrigation. The report said that more dams and deeper wells were not the answer.

It said, for instance, that dams on the Volga River had reduced the spawning grounds for Caspian sturgeon, and 90 percent of the water in Namibia's Eastern National Water Carrier canal was lost because of evaporation.


Gotthilf Hempel, professor emeritus of biological oceanography at Germany's Kiel University and a leader of the study, said water shortages could spur more human conflicts in future.

"The fight for water will be more dramatic than the fight for oil in the long run. For oil we have substitutes, for water we have none," he told Reuters.

"Conflicts in parts of Africa between herdsmen and farmers have always partly been a fight for water," he said. "I think that we will see those conflicts more and more." The study was issued ahead of March 22 -- the U.N.'s annual "World Water Day."

The report said rising demand for fresh water was caused partly by demand for food from an increasing human population of 6.5 billion and a "shift to more water-intensive food such as meat rather than vegetables and fruit rather than cereals."

"We are over-using our freshwater resources, particularly for irrigation in areas where a crop just cannot be produced in a reasonable way because evaporation is too high," Hempel said.

He said that many farms in hot climates depended on little-understood aquifers holding water that had been in the ground for perhaps 10,000 years. "This is not a resource that can be replenished quickly," he said.

Green circles in deserts -- areas irrigated by circular sprinklers -- were often a sign of misuse of water, he said.

The report said that overfishing of species ranging from cod to tuna was stripping the seas.

Excessive catches were stoked by $20 billion in annual fishing subsidies, poor enforcement of fishing laws and destructive practices like blast fishing with dynamite that can wreck coral reefs, it said.

MARCH 10th 2008
The best way to purify water for the final stage of delivery is by electrically produced ozone, which destroys all toxic chemicals and drugs, viruses, bacteria etc, combined with filtration. This process is used in places in the USA and elsewhere. Why is it not adopted as standard where a reliable electrical supply and emergency backup is available?

The latest Associated Press investigation shows there is comparative negligence in this area as the levels of contamination have been considered low, but they are rising exponentially. Read this: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080310/ap_on_re_us/pharmawater_i

JUNE 03 2010
Some sensible work has been going on quietly without much fuss, to help with marginal drought problems in South East England.
Desalination by renewable energy, and particularly solar, is naturally an area that must be progressively tackled. The maths and economics are not that simple though when it comes to the optimum size and location of systems.