Thames Water is offering thousands of free water-saving devices to its Oxford customers in a bid to help the city save water and protect sources for the future.
The region is classed as “seriously water-stressed” by the Environment Agency and so this month Thames Water begins a campaign to get people across the county to take up their offer of installing free water-saving gadgets.
In an effort to tackle leaks, the company has also installed five innovative listening devices on large water pipes in the city.
Andrew Tucker, water efficiency manager at Thames Water, said: “We’d love for as many people as possible to fit our free water-saving gadgets. Small changes will make a big difference – installing just one of our showerheads could save a family up to £90 a year by reducing their metered water and energy bills.
“Water isn’t something people in England normally associate with being scarce; some days all it seems to do is rain. We have a lot of grey days, but the truth is we receive about half as much rainfall as Sydney. So what rain we get we really do have to make the most of.”
Thames Water says the second biggest part of Oxford residents’ total energy bills comes from water use (when using hot water in showers, baths and from taps), and homes across the county can save money by installing the free devices.
Experts at the water company plan ahead by calculating how much water is available and how much will be needed, and include factors such as population growth and climate change. Predictions show Oxford and Swindon would be left with a shortfall of one million litres of water per day by 2020 if no action was taken. This figure would increase to 32 million litres a day by 2040, the equivalent to filling 12 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Alex Nickson, Thames Water’s water resource manager, added: “We’re determined this shortfall won’t become a reality. Over the next 10 years we aim to provide almost all of the additional water our customers will need through managing demand, and we do that by reducing leakage, putting in meters and giving our customers practical help and advice on saving water.
“But we’re also in the early stages of developing a plan that will detail how we would like to manage future resources. We are taking this predicted shortfall seriously, and will be exploring a number of options to make sure our customers have the water they need in the future.”
Across the city, 44,000 residents in places like Botley, Beckley, Kennington and South Hinksey are receiving letters offering the freebies, and posters and radio and newspaper adverts will be running over the next month. The water-saving gadgets are available to anyone living in Thames Water’s area, and can be ordered at: www.thameswater.co.uk/ordernow. Homeowners can also see how much water they use and how much they could save by going to www.thameswater.co.uk/savewater.
As well as repairing over 1,300 leaks in Oxford over the last six months, in an effort to tackle leaks and save water, the company has installed five innovative listening devices on large water pipes in the city.
The device, called a ‘trunkminder’ (as water pipes used to be made from tree trunks), sits on top of water pipes and listens to the water powering through at high pressure. It alerts Thames Water engineers to any changes in the pipe which could indicate a leak. Three are installed on a large pipe running through the centre of the city, and two on the outskirts.