Turn the taps off and energy bills will fall, says MP
THE pilot campaign to cut water use and energy bills in Swindon is gathering pace as firms and politicians look to save the dwindling River Kennet.
Swindon is classified by the Environment Agency as “seriously water stressed”, meaning all available sources of water in the region are being put to use.
With a glut of new homes due to be built in the coming years and concerns over the sustainability of the Kennet, the campaign is gathering momentum to reach the target of saving one million litres of water every day in the town.
All households in Swindon are being invited to have water-saving devices installed in their homes as part of the effort.
South Swindon MP Robert Buckland threw his weight behind the Save Water Swindon project yesterday, reminding residents that saving water can also curb spiralling energy bills in winter.
“I think as we get to the winter months people forget water is still a precious resource we have got to look after,” he said.
“The campaign still has some importance, bearing in mind the fact people are using more water meters, which are becoming the norm.
“The Kennet is a river we can have problems with because it is our main water source, and I have seen it running dry. We have to have sustainability, particularly with the pressures on our water system.
“I also think it is a very good initiative for younger people to be made aware just how essential saving water can be.
“It is particularly important in older houses where design codes were very different, and people may not have these devices built in.
“It is absolutely vital in the long term, and Thames Water are looking at more ways to extract water from the Thames for Swindon, which will be hugely significant.”
Huw Thomas, stakeholder engagement officer at Thames Water, said: “One of the points we cannot stress enough is people are heating this water, so gas bills can come down at the same time as their water bills if they just make some simple changes.
“We are not asking people to make a huge change to their lifestyle. Putting the dishwasher on less often or turning off the tap when you brush your teeth can save a great deal.”
More structural issues also needed addressing.
“Water currently comes from the Kennet and through Swindon before being recycled back into the Thames, an issue which needs to be resolved,” said Mr Thomas.
“There is a belief that water just falls out of the sky, but we have got to do a great deal to it first to make it safe. We work hard to tackle any leaks as quickly as possible, but that can have its own complications.”
Paul Rutter, water efficiency manager at Thames Water, said: “We estimate people can save up to £50 a year on water bills and £35 on energy by signing up to have free water-saving devices installed.
“So far 17,000 homes in Swindon have ordered water-saving devices or arranged for us to fit them, but we want to encourage even more people to take advantage.”
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