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Households should be collecting rainwater, ex-minister says

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HOUSEHOLDS could be doing more to save water such as reusing dishwater to flush toilets and putting it on the lawn or collecting rainwater for domestic use, a backbencher has said.

Steve Luce. Picture: JON GUEGAN. (25358117)

Recently the JEP revealed that Jersey Water was making long-term plans to ensure that the Island had sufficient water supplies as the population continued to grow.

Demand is expected to increase by 17% to 24 million litres a day by 2045, which, if no action is taken, would create a daily deficit of 8.2 million litres per day under severe drought conditions.

Ideas being explored to address the problem have included raising the height of the dam at Val de la Mare reservoir, increasing the capacity of the desalination plant, using more quarries and streams to capture water and even developing a new reservoir.

But Deputy Steve Luce, a former Environment Minister, said that he also believed more could be done in Island households, possibly encouraged by planning laws, to use water more efficiently.

‘When we have been updating the building bye-laws recently it has mainly been about insulating so homes are cool in the summer and warm in the winter,’ he said.

‘But there is other stuff we could do about travelling water and making better use of it. We maybe don’t use drain water, for example, efficiently enough. The water that comes out of your dishwasher or your washing machine could also be used again in your garden or to flush your toilet, but instead we just let it flow away.’

He added that capturing rainwater for domestic use was another option that could be looked at more closely.

‘I have a friend who to this day collects rainwater and has a system whereby he uses that for flushing,’ he said.

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‘We are lucky in Jersey because the quality of our water is good, despite what some people might say, and we are putting that super-quality water, which is for drinking, through our toilets or onto our lawns.

‘In the house where I live I have a big tank in my kitchen which used to catch all the rainwater off the roof. The person who lived there before me spent his whole life drinking water that came out of this tank.

‘We could definitely do a lot better with water in Jersey than we are at present.’

Ian Heath

By Ian Heath
author

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