Where will water-saving innovation come from in the future?
I have written at length on ways to save water and although water is not free it is not yet ‘expensive’. I am sure the utility (water) companies look at the UK and see the potential of making money out of a product that falls freely from the sky. In some places, it is also naturally filtered through historic sedimentary rock to create something amazing that all life on earth needs to survive. Yes, it is a bit dramatic and yes in Scotland we certainly take water for granted. However, it is my hope that innovation will continue to help us utilise our water better.
Things are improving
Inspiration From Around The Globe
Rainwater capture is still in its infancy in the UK. It is only really being driven by commercial developments that want to ‘be seen’ to be green. Overall, in the UK, we are still a long way off when compared to areas like Queensland, Australia. Every house (I saw on my last visit) has a rainwater capture system which is used for non-drinking purposes: i.e. flushing toilets.
In the commercial environment is not that difficult to retrofit a rainwater or greywater system into a building. Yes, there is some cost, predominantly in setting up the capture tank and installing a pump but it is not an impossible task. Again the development of such systems, government incentive programs and advances in technologies will only be driven when a market has been created and this will probably have to be driven by legislation. The question whether this initiative should be led at a domestic or commercial level is one for the politicians but reductions in business rates to counter the capital investment would certainly help and there is precedent.
Since 2007 the Scottish Government has been looking at ways to change building regulations to lower the carbon footprint of the nation. 11 years on and the results can be seen in the increased levels of carbon-neutral initiatives and technologies being developed in Scotland. It is my hope that in the not too distant future the Scottish Government will start looking at water capture as another way to improve our sustainability and, hopefully, other governments within the UK will follow suit.
Or Is Science The Key?
Of course, technology advances could work in other ways and recent reports state that a Graphene coated membrane can filter polluted seawater into drinking water looks promising. I am unsure of the science, but in countries where drinking water is at a premium, these technologies will always be championed long before here in Scotland (whilst we have it falling from the skies). However who is to say that in 100 years Scottish bottled water may be as expensive as whisky because of its cleanliness and purity and maybe we would all be a little more interested in drinking it than wasting it!
Please feel free to contact me if you have any comments or contributions to any of my water-saving writings and please do something positive on World Water Day on the 22nd March.