Transition Circles are entering their second year in a practical mood: Earlham South are chopping wood together, Strangers' organising their wholefood co-op. Transition Hethersett are cycling to their third meeting. Meanwhile Earlham North met last month to discuss water conservation and exchanged practical tips. Diana Church copes with the deluge of information.
Water conservation, our chosen topic to discuss seemed apt after several torrential downpours during the afternoon. The last deluge of the day soaked me to the skin as, perched on a ladder, I unblocked a narrow pipe which drains rainwater from a bay window parapet into the main downpipe . . .However, torrential rain withstanding, statistics from the Met Office show that over the last 10 years our average rainfall has decreased by 8%.We discussed rain water catchment in our gardens and the benefit of linked waterbutts using plastic hosepipes to deliver water where it is needed...... even running one into the greenhouse.
From that we talked about hard surface rainwater run off from roads and pavements that overflow into Anglian Water drainage system, leading us to question why it is we use good quality water in our homes to flush loos and for washing? According to a survey, 75% of our domestic water is used in the bathroom of which a quarter is toilet flushing. A 4 minute shower uses between 20-40 gallons depending on the shower type. To reduce this usage, a water restrictor can be fitted in the shower and a 'hippo' placed in a toilet cistern. (Those of us with the care and concern for animal welfare can use an ordinary house brick or two).
Very modern loos flush exceedingly well using very little water, it's the old clunkers that need doctoring. Quick showers can save a lot of water, where the first burst of water is used to wet oneself, then the shower is turned off to soap ourself, then the final quick burst of water rinses off all the soap. Estimated water usage...just under 2 buckets.
In the kitchen, all crockery can be wiped as clean as possible before washing, keeping the water cleaner for longer. Keeping a bucket in the bathroom to take old bathwater for flushing the loo, reuses the water and is a saving, and only using the washing machine when fully loaded is another. We agreed a gismo needs to be designed that takes rainwater out of an exterior waterbutt and feeds it into a washing machine.m Also a way of setting up a rainwater filter system to deliver clean drinking water into the house. Lucy lived off grid for a while and this was used where she stayed. The drinking water produced met the health standards for drinking water. We are looking forward to catching up with other Transition group members at the Old White Lion Pub on the 15th September. Maybe we can discuss gismos and gadgets!
Our next North group meeting is at Lucy's place, telephone 01603 613440 on Tuesday 28 September. The subject is ' How do we go on from here?' Not a geographical exercise but a realistic plan of how to expand our group and keep circles going, keep up the momentum.I enjoy our meetings, good food, good company and good conversation, and always something inspiring for future action.
Photos: Hethersett sign by John Heaser; rainwater butt for downstairs loo by TECN's Chris Hull on the TN blog
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