Saturday, September 22, 2007

Learn Something New About: Water

Do you know where your water comes from? For the first few years after moving to Switzerland, we filtered all of our water, and bought bottled water frequently. Having lived in other urban areas around the world I tended towards doubt about water quality from taps.

Our local council last week sent out a simple information leaflet with some interesting information. The water from our taps comes from three sources: springs (like Evian!) (53%), underground water table (11%) and Lake Geneva (36%). The latter is only pumped into our water system from spring to autumn; during the winter, our water network draws entirely on water from springs and the water table, which is of such good quality that it enters the network without any treatment. The lake water is only lightly treated to take out sand, adjust ph and add some chlorine. This information is incredibly useful and sufficiant to make me feel both fortunate and foolish about wasting money on bottled water (Evian is just across Lake Geneva from us) and on expensive water filters when our water is such good quality. I just didn't know.

The second thing I didn't know was how much water on average we used in our area. Apparently, me and my neighbours use on average 403 liters of drinking water per person/per day. I wondered how it could be so high, so I went to the BBC's excellent water calculator to see what my household water consumption estimation would be. This is a very simple, visual calculator (no math necessary!) According to the calculator, our household uses approximately 160 liters of water per person/per day (I would like to know who's using the other 243 liters per day?). The calculator compared that to the average British household (155 liters per person per day) and also identified the places of highest use in my house and gave some useful tips for water saving. Now that I know how good our water is, it seems a pity to flush so much of it down the toilet!


Gillian said...

Just to add, this is incredibly high use and availability compared to statistics I found for (for example), the Middle East and North Africa, which was 64 liters per person/per day (1995 figures).

Rania Faouri said...

This is very interesting ... but in a country that has no pure and clean water resources (river, lakes, springs) like Jordan ... we have to buy bottles...