It's a real boon to have a readily accessible mains water supply on your allotment site, but sometimes those taps can prove just a bit too handy! Water is a vital (and in the South West Water area, particularly costly) resource which we need to conserve. It's all too easy to rush down to the plot on a summer evening to 'give those beans a good soaking', but our actions ultimately have consequences for the environment as well as our pockets. After all, as plotholders we pay the 'going rate' for the water used on our sites; South West Water certainly doesn't provide it 'gratis', and the beneficence of Barnstaple Town Council as landlord doesn't extend to paying our bills either. Rather, the cost of water usage at each site is divided by the number of plots to determine the apportionment of water charges for the following year.
A couple of years ago, water consumption on the Bryant's Field, Fairview, Higher Raleigh and Sunnybank allotment sites was significantly higher than in it had been in previous years. When the situation came to light, the Town Council determined to bring the usage under control, installing control measures at the Fairview site without consulting tenants. This 'trial' caused a great deal of 'angst' amongst the tenants and 'loss of good faith' towards the council. However, it did serve as a wake up call to all parties; to the council who needed to update tenancy agreements and implement more robust controls, and among the tenants who needed to make immediate and sustained reductions in water consumption to avoid very significant water charges in future years.
Whilst having a water tap near your plot is a great help, it can also tend to make some of us lazy or wasteful, and lead to our environmental consciousness being dimmed. After all, if we had to carry every precious drop in our watering cans rather than just connect and turn on a hose, would we use as much water?
The water consumption figures for the 2014 and 2015 years are set out in the table below, with the proportionate use by site shown in the two pie charts. The results of our combined efforts are truly remarkable. Water usage at all sites is very significantly lower, so it seems that we're all making positive changes to the way we use water. Maybe through capturing and storing water runoff from sheds and greenhouses, increasing mulching and ground cover, or perhaps just a better watering regime. So a 'Big Thank You!' to everyone for your efforts, and keep up the good work.
per plot (L)
per plot (L)
2014 Usage in Cubic Metres (M3) [000's Litres]
2015 Usage in Cubic Metres (M3) [000's Litres]