‘In New Zealand, once the water’s gone, that’s it, you’re out of water…’
At the 2016 Fife Show, Graham describes the effect that visiting New Zealand, and seeing the way that people there use water, has effected the way he uses water here in Scotland.
Interviewer: So, Graham, you were saying you lived in New Zealand for six months?
Graham: Six months, yeah. Basically there’s not much pipe water, once you’re out of the towns. So most of it comes off the roof. If a possum has been on the roof, the water’s not much good anyway, so you have to be careful what you drinking there anyway. So you tend to conserve it and basically once the water has gone – what’s come off the roof – if they’re not haven’t had rain for a few days, it can just disappear and that’s it. You’re out water. They do try and store it, obviously.
I: Would have had that experience of running out of water?
G: I’ve never had it run out of water, but you can see where the container is and you can see it’s so big and that’s your water and lots of people using if you’re staying in a hostel that’s out of the way and stuff like that and, you notice people leaving the tap on. Yeah. So yeah, I’ve always turned it off since then. And the toilets, well, we bought a low-flush toilet, but the design of it’s so bad that you have to flush it twice anyway.
I: When you were making the decision when you were doing your bathroom or toilet six seven years ago, were you thinking about water efficiency then?
G: Yeah, yeah, I will say I started to think about taking stuff off the roof but probably not a good idea at the moment what with all the extras that come with it. We don’t live in a big house, so anything extra that comes with it’s probably going to get in the way, but we never looked into that much but I went for a low flush type of stuff. We’ve got a shower bath, but the bath’s a small bath that’s actually quite narrow so it’s an actual shower-bath. So it’s the right width to stand-in and you can actually have a bath in it, which tends to save water if you do have to have a bath, but usually shower. I’m surprised more stuff isn’t taken off the roof in the UK anyway, for grey water and flushing toilets and stuff like that, just straight off the roof.
I: And why do you think that is?
G: It’s never really been pushed. I mean we’ve got plenty of water, especially up here. It’s not a problem. But people obviously see it is grey water, dirty water and you’ve got stuff on the TV telling you to put toilet stuff down your toilet and stuff like that. So, you’ve got them saying that and you’ve got grey water off your roof. They’re totally at odds with each other.
I: That’s interesting. And you’re saying that when you brush your teeth these days…
G: I do tend to turn the water off. Yeah