Developers can help save vital water
THE need for water efficiency education, for both the public and the building industry, was the key theme of a seminar held in Ashford.
Demand for water is rising because of large home-building programmes across the South East and higher temperatures.
Kent County Council’s cabinet member for regeneration Roger Gough (Con) told the seminar at the Julie Rose Stadium: “Last summer showed the serious situation we have over water supply.
“Luckily, a wet winter and good public response has baled us out this time, so a short-term problem has been contained but the long-term problems are still very much with us.”
With about 100,000 homes scheduled for the next 20 years in Ashford and the Thames Gateway, the county is one of the most water-stressed parts of Britain.
Jacob Tomkins, who is a member of the Government’s water saving group, outlined measures that need to be introduced.
He said: “As well as reduced supply, we are seeing more households with fewer people in each. The public won’t put up with the realities of having to get water from standpipes in the street, not being able to flush the toilet or have a bath, of workplaces having to shut down, so we must look for ways of reducing demand.
“Pricing charges may help. Water is too cheap but we have to encourage people to save by reducing waste, not reducing necessary use.
“If we don’t take action we shall run out of water and the developers simply will not be able to build the planned houses.”
Strategic planning manager Richard Alderton explained how they were handling the doubling of the town’s size, working with developers to include water-efficiency schemes.
He said: “Ashford masterplanning is a textbook example of having to cover issues from floods to lack of water and problems of removing waste while looking for a joined-up solution which also protects environmental quality.
“In a rapidly changing situation we are looking to set a benchmark for the Government’s agenda for sustainable development.”
The seminar ended with a visit to the Hillreed show home at Singleton, Ashford, to demonstrate water-saving measures.
Water demand is rising and so is the population
KCC regeneration manager Abby Raymond is shown a water-saving shower by Jo Richards of Hillreed
Kent can’t afford to waste water
Julie Morris, senior water resources planner for the Environment Agency, checks the waterefficient taps