Alaric Aldred on Saving Water

17:50 Wednesday 14th March 2012
Drive BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

CHRIS MANN: Some of us are facing the first hosepipe ban imposed by Anglian Water in twenty years. What are we in the county doing to save water? Our reporter Johnny D. has been out to Melborn to see Alaric Aldred, who seems, well, quite well prepared. (TAPE) (OB)
ALARIC ALDRED: Let me take you upstairs.
JOHN DEVINE: Right. OK. Straight round.
ALARIC ALDRED: And I’ll show you what we do.
JOHN DEVINE: OK. We’re going through a hallway.
JOHN DEVINE: Up we go. It’s a very nice house this. Quite old Alaric?
JOHN DEVINE: 1871. It’s a lovely character house, isn’t it? Right. OK. We’re going through.
ALARIC ALDRED: Very quaint.
JOHN DEVINE: The master bedroom through here, into an en-suite bathroom. Oh you’ve got a bucket in the bidet.
ALARIC ALDRED: Here’s the bathroom. There’s the lavatory. We’ve got a nice black bucket here, a nice little one. The bath, as you can see we haven’t let it out. So we just scoop it up like this.
JOHN DEVINE: Scoop the water. That’s it. Nice and easy. So you’ve got a nice bucket full there.
ALARIC ALDRED: And then we just gently pour it down like that.
JOHN DEVINE: And in effect, what you’ve done is you’ve flushed the toilet there without actually flushing the toilet.
ALARIC ALDRED: Absolutely.
JOHN DEVINE: And the bath was drawn this morning, was it?
ALARIC ALDRED: Yes it was. And so you get nice warm water going down the loo and cleaning it all up, which is nice.
JOHN DEVINE: I’m only assuming this, but you draw that bath every day, potentially. And normal people will just pull the plug out, water’s gone, wasted.
ALARIC ALDRED: Absolutely. Completely wasted. And they don’t get any added value from it at all. Whereas by doing this, we’re getting to use the water twice before it gets thrown away.
JOHN DEVINE: And this is what they call in the trade now, grey water harvesting, I believe.
ALARIC ALDRED: I believe they do, yes.
JOHN DEVINE: And what other things do you do?
ALARIC ALDRED: Well we collect water, rainwater, in. We’ve got about a dozen water butts around the garden.
JOHN DEVINE: How many?
JOHN DEVINE: I wonder if anyone listening has got more than 12 water butts in their garden. (THEY LAUGH) I don’t know. We’ll see.
ALARIC ALDRED: I bet there are. And then, in the summer, when it’s really hot and we need even more water for the garden, we’ve got a hosepipe, and we can siphon the water down into the garden from the bath, and fill up the water butts down there.
JOHN DEVINE: Now the important thing is, what has this done to your bill, your water bill?
ALARIC ALDRED: Well it’s literally halved it. Before we had a water meter, we had one put on when they put the water main in in the High Street, and our water bill went down from £23 a month to £11. So it’s less than half. So we’re quite pleased with that.
JOHN DEVINE: When I run a bath at home, what I do is the plug will be out, I’ll turn the hot water one on, the tap. I turn it on like that. (RUNNING WATER) And I’ve got the plug out. And I put my hand under it waiting for the water to get hot.
ALARIC ALDRED: That’s right.
JOHN DEVINE: Most people do that, I think.
ALARIC ALDRED: Yes. But, if you put the plug in before you turn the hot tap on, you can fill your bath with .. starts off being cold, then it gets warm, and then it gets hot. And you turn it off when it’s the right temperature. Instead of wasting all that water down the drain to begin with, and then putting cold in afterwards, because it’s too hot.
JOHN DEVINE: It’s just little things like that, isn’t it, that might potentially save you a lot of water?
ALARIC ALDRED: It’s so easy just thinking round things, and trying to get added value out of your water, so using it twice, not throwing it away. Like when you’re cleaning your teeth, don’t run the tap. Or even, if you do want to run the tap, say in the sink or something, put a basin in the sink so you can use the water maybe for the garden, or for whatever. So if you’re waiting to do the washing up, waiting for the hot water to come through, put it in the basin, and there you are. You’ve got some extra water that you wouldn’t have had, that otherwise would have gone down the drain.
JOHN DEVINE: I couldn’t help noticing, you’ve got a motorhome on your driveway. That has really made you think about water usage, hasn’t it?
ALARIC ALDRED: Well it does. Because every drop of water we use in the motorhome we have to fetch, or we have to take the motorhome to a tap and then fill it up. And that takes forever, and it’s a real pain. So we’re quite careful, save for making cups of tea. We’ll pour the right amount of water into the kettle, so that we only boil enough for two cups of tea. So you can measure it out in the cup beforehand. So you’re not wasting, again, wasting water that you’re not going to use.
JOHN DEVINE: You’re saving electricity, you’re saving water. What I normally do is fill it right up to the top, only use a very little bit. Next time I use the kettle, empty it all out again.
ALARIC ALDRED: Yes. It’s waste. So you’ve wasted it twice. You’ve wasted the electricity in heating it, and you’ve wasted the water that’s now gone cold.
JOHN DEVINE: Do you think now, with this water hosepipe ban coming up, and the shortages we’re having, lack of rain, more people are going to get on the bandwagon like you’re doing?
ALARIC ALDRED: I think they should. It requires a little bit of thought, and a mindset. But yes. They should do it, and it’s very easily done. It really is. (LIVE) (STUDIO)
CHRIS MANN: Alaric Aldred talking to Johnny D.