Water saving at the Royal Oak

The owner of a Bed and Breakfast in Cornwall talks about the cost of water in the county and his incentives for harvesting rainwater for the garden area.

Graham Tobias. This is the Royal Oak in Lostwithiel – a 13th century coaching inn with six en suite bedrooms, restaurant and bar area. Come down here, last August – so we took over the business, last August

Because the water rates in Cornwall are very, very high and being a hotel we’re on a water meter. So obviously our guests in the rooms – we have six bedrooms here – and they use the showers the baths, the basin’s toilets, flushing toilets and everything. So the water bills are very, very high. So rather than using the water through the meter for watering the plants, obviously in the garden and that, we decided to put the water butts in. So, obviously, collect the rainwater and the rain water we use to water the plants.

I’ve had a few people inquire and say, “oh, good idea. Where did you get them from?” I said, well, B&Q or Homebase, or wherever. So, three of those were about a hundred pounds. So not too expensive.

We pay for the upkeep of the beaches in Cornwall as well within our water rates. So if you see people on the beaches, sort of with the tractors, taking seaweed off, and keeping them clean for the tourists and that, so obviously the beach is kept clean but that comes into our water rates as well. So all in all it’s a good idea just to have that for the plants and the garden really.

Summer of 76 was a particularly hot summer. 1976 and there was a hose pipe bans. Couldn’t wash your car. Couldn’t use water for the Garden or anything like that.

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