England may no longer be a land of squishy winter gardens if changeable climate has its way. We may prove wrong if we think its lovely gardens and green clipped lawns will endure forever. The English southeast actually has less annual rainfall than South Sudan, or Perth Australia at around 20 to 24 inches. Yet apparently the insatiable England appetite uses water without caring. ‘Insatiable’ means unable to be satisfied.
Insatiable England Gets Far Less Water Then the Northerly Highlands
The UK’s overall annual rainfall averages 47 inches across the main island. However – and here’s the catch – most falls on the Scotland, Wales and Northern England highlands. This system is failing and the southeast of England is “drying up fast” according to UK sustainability writer Tim Smedley.
England suffered six months of below average rainfall during 2018. Many reservoirs threatened to run on empty. This was a chilling reminder of 2017 which had the driest 10-month period for more than 100 years. The United Kingdom Government Water Abstraction Plan as amended paints a somber picture. “28% of groundwater aquifers in England, and up to 18% of rivers and reservoirs, are unsustainably abstracted,” it warns. ‘Abstraction’ means removing water from a source.
Most of the Population Seems Oblivious to This
The majority of water consumers seem unaware only 17% of England’s rivers are in “good ecological health”. Tim Smedley says “The average Brit uses 40 gallons of water per day. This is through a combination of showers, high-flush toilets, dishwashers, washing machines, and garden hoses.”
This is in stark contrast to Cape Town where residents’ usage is capped at 13 to18 gallons per day. Finland has also worked down to 30 a day from 90 in the 1970’s. We understand it achieved this through “higher water prices, better technology, consumer awareness and utility management.”
Tim Smedley expects England to become a case study how previously wet countries could become dry and arid if they don’t do something fairly soon. “People don’t see water as something we need to save,” sighs Hannah Freeman, senior government affairs officer for the charity Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust. “The public perception is still we are a wet country.”
Preview Image: Extent of England