UK Schools to indoctrinate Children ready for U.N Proposition 21 control of all water
‘Water saving skills’ taught in schools as drought spreads
Schoolchildren are being taught to turn off taps while brushing their teeth as part of efforts to save water during the worst drought in Britain since 1976.
By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent
3:38PM BST 16 Apr 2012
Half of Britain is now in drought with more than 35m people living in areas suffering water shortages that could last well into next year.
The country’s biggest water company, Thames Water, is sending volunteers into primary schools warning children that unless to explain to children how serious the situation could become unless water is saved.
The ‘drought speakers’ tell children as young as four that turning off the tap while they brush their teeth can save six litres a minute, while spending minute less in the shower can save ten litres.
Cartoons and games are used to help children remember simple things they can do to save water, like putting tissues in the bin rather than flushing them down the toilet.
They hope that the children will go home and encourage their parents to mend leaking taps and put enough water in the kettle for one cup of tea.
They can also compare water use with friends and family on Facebook to further learn about saving resources.
The 30 minute talk is similar to programmes in the US and Australia, where drought is a serious problem, and uses a range of multi-media tools to inspire changes in behaviour, including a video on how to save water while brushing your teeth.
Children are told river and ground water levels are lower than they have ever been because of two dry winters in a row and the problem could get worse in future years because of climate change.
In the UK the average person uses 160 litres of water – two bathfuls of water – a day compared to 127 litres in Germany and just 10 in Bangladesh.
The volunteers, who range from mechanics to managers, tell children to “help to make sure there is enough water to last for essential use like drinking”. If the drought gets worse households will be rationed and there could be standpipes in the street.
By 2020 the Government would like all schools to have minimised their carbon emissions and saving water is a key way they can do this.
The 95 volunteers from Thames Water have reached 4,000 schoolchildren so far and are also visiting community centres, Women’s Institute meetings and even businesses to explain simple water saving measures.
Seven water companies have already imposed hosepipe bans and more are expected to bring in restrictions if it is a hot summer.
Most already have education programmes in schools and are expected to bring in a ‘drought talks’ as part of this to educate both children and parents.
In the last serious drought in 1976 people were told to share the bath but this time water companies are limiting the time spent in the shower to just four minutes.
Leaflets and letters have been sent to hospitals, Government agencies and businesses, including advice on use of the lavatory, since a third of domestic water use is from flushing the lavatory and people could put a bag of crystals in the cistern to reduce the flush.
Richard Aylard, Head of Sustainability at Thames Water, said the hosepipe ban is just one part of dealing with the drought.
The company is handing out £50 worth of water saving devices to each customer, such as egg timers to take into the shower and children are given ‘freebies’ as part of the talks.
“It is not just about having a hosepipe ban, it is about saving water,” he said. “We are trying to say to people spend less time in the shower, only put the dishwasher on when you have a full load, fit a water saving device on the showerhead and taps.
“We have 8.8 million customers, if they all do it, it makes a difference.”
DIY centres like B&Q and gardening centres have also teamed up with water companies or independently launched lessons in saving water to help people learn how to set up rainwater harvesting systems and how to recycle ‘grey water’ from the bath and lavatory.
It comes as figures show sales of drip irrigation systems are up a fifth, water butt sales have tripled and watering cans are more popular . Meanwhile sales of hosepipes are down with reels falling almost 40 per cent, and pipes down 32 per cent.
But anger is growing about car wash companies still allowed to use hosepipes and golf courses continuing to irrigate while householders are forced for follow restrictions.
The Met Office said the wet and windy weather will continue this week and April is expected to be one of the wettest on record, but with growing plants sucking up most of the water, it will have little effect on the drought.
Portsmouth Water said there is a “real risk” of water restrictions, Cambridge Water warned of bans from September, Bristol Water is prepared for potential bans and Yorkshire Water refused to rule out restrictions.
The Environment Agency said prolonged rain over many weeks is needed to refill reservoirs and aquifers but this is not expected until the winter.
In the meantime farmers face a reduced harvest, threatening to put up food prices and wildlife like salmon, trout and – further up the food chain – water voles and kingfishers could go extinct in some areas.
The hosepipe ban is just the first stage in saving water. After that water companies can force car washes, golf courses and other ‘non-essential’ users to cut down. Eventually householders are rationed by restricting days water is available or by only providing water from standpipes in the street.