A water obsessed road-runner
Our son, Jago, is now 15 months old. During the last couple of few weeks he has perfected a freestyle form of walk/running oddly reminiscent of the road-runner cartoon character. This newly discovered mobility has opened up a wide range of different games. By far the most popular is a plastic table which when filled with water provides endless amusement resulting in excessive drenching for anybody foolish enough to get too close.
Water is also a theme that is becoming increasingly important in my job. Global Action Plan is currently working with schools throughout the south of England helping children to understand the importance of using water carefully. Their level of creativity never ceases to amaze me. In school after school children have developed adverts, quizzes, songs, posters and assemblies which have successfully helped save huge amounts of water.
The increasing importance of water
This awareness will become increasingly important through their lives. All future projections indicate that the south of England will face increasing shortages of water caused by the growing population and changes in climate. The water companies are already concerned that another dry winter will have serious implications for wildlife, for farmers and eventually for households.
What changes can our children expect as water becomes an increasingly precious resource? In the first instance, the water companies and government will do all they can to minimize the problem. Thames Water has already built a highly energy intensive desalination plant to safeguard supply. Tentative plans are in place to move water around the country from the water-rich north to the drought-hit south. Both solutions are massively expensive and the cost of water will rise rapidly.
Inevitably water meters will be introduced for all households forcing people to pay for what they use. It is possible that eventually charges will vary with people having to pay more in times of shortage or if they are excessive users. Anybody with a young child will immediately realize the implications this will have on trying to make financial ends meet.
Financially, saving water will become increasingly important for young families. Fortunately simple steps can make a big difference such as not leaving taps running when cleaning teeth, buying more water efficient products, putting a water butt in the garden (if you have one) and only using washing machines when they are full. As we have already seen in the schools in which we are working it is probable that these habits will become normal for our children