Water is one of the most precious commodities on the planet and it doesn’t come cheap. In 2010 water services cost the Irish State €1.2 billion to run, with operational costs of €715 million and capital expenditure of more than €500 million.
Where that has a very real impact on the Irish household is the introduction of a new water usage charge, which is scheduled to come into effect in 2013.
While austerity has hit all of us hard, there is a way to reduce the associated costs with water usage once the water metering system is introduced, by harvesting rainwater – an abundance of which Ireland seems to have, regardless of the season!
On average each person uses 150 litres of water a day but half of this does not need to be drinking water quality. Water for flushing toilets, washing machines, garden watering and car washing can all be taken from harvested rainwater. That’s a 50% saving that we can make on our water metering charges already.
Also as rainwater is softer, this means less detergent in our washing machines and less lime scale build-up and wear and tear on our appliances – another cost saving incentive from using harvesting one of our most precious resources.
Up until now we have not had to pay for water and it seems that it is always in plentiful supply. However other countries have long realised how precious a commodity water is. Australia, for example, with its frequent droughts and bush fires, is expert in the field of rainwater harvesting. Rainwater storage tanks have been a highly successful source of harvesting water supplies for isolated properties, small communities and in rural areas of Australia for over 200 years. It has become the norm for each household to have its own rainwater system in a country where you can only water your garden or wash your car on certain set days and where every drop counts.
So here in Ireland, is it worth the investment? According to Janice McGuinness of Tanks.ie it certainly is. “With weather patterns changing and our seasons becoming less distinctive who knows what the future holds for our country. However if we approach it from an economical point of view rather than an environmental one, we can all certainly make savings by harvesting rainwater in the long run.”
“The proposed water metering has made us more aware of the value of water. Up until now, the prospect of paying for water seemed alien to us. But now it is a very real issue and it is anticipated that water charges will be implemented by the end of 2013.”
McGuinness added “To counter balance these costs the installation of a rainwater harvesting system will drastically reduce the amount of water used and subsequently wasted in each household.”
“From a simple system of a barrel and a downpipe filter to a complete underground system most Irish households are now in a position to harvest rainwater for practical and daily use and to subsequently reduce costs.”
For information on rainwater harvesting and products contact Janice McGuinness at Tanks.ie, by calling 051 351325 or visit www.tanks.ie