Guernsey’s precious freshwater resource

October 16th, 2010 by Richard Lord

We take our supply of fresh water for granted even though a regular supply of freshwater is essential to life.

Andrew Redhead, Director of Water Services for Guernsey Water, said recently that long term plans call for Guernsey Water to take over Les Vardes quarry by 2030 to provide sufficient reservoir capacity to service Guernsey’s needs.  If this quarry is not made available for water storage then Guernsey will have to consider desalination.

One may ask why Guernsey Water would have to consider these measures when our island seems to have an abundant supply of rain and there hasn’t been a water shortage or a hosepipe ban in over ten years.

The problem, Andrew Redhead explains, is that people’s water use has shot-up.  Not many years ago people washed less often, and if they needed to wash their hair they probably used a hand-held shower head attached to bath taps.

Today, with increasing affluence people can afford drench showers powered by a water pump.  And showers no longer occur only from above; some have water jets from the side as well.  With Guernsey’s slowly rising population, and its thirst for high-volume water showers it is no wonder that Guernsey Water has long term plans to avoid future water shortages.

Many Guernsey residents collect rain water from gutters for garden use during dry periods.  Len Le Page has a 200 gallon storage barrel for such a purpose.

Len Le Page's 200 gallon water tank stores rainwater collected from the gutter surrounding his home (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

R.H. Gaudion and Sons Ltd. at Camp du Roi in Vale sell the Rain Sava, which diverts water from a downpipe into a water butt.  The Rain Sava website states that 10,000 gallons of rainwater falls on an average UK home roof each year.  It makes both ecological and financial sense to collect rainwater for use in one’s garden.

The Rain Sava fitted to a downpipe and connected to a water butt (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

15 October 2010 was Blog Action Day and the subject was water.  The security of supply of potable water is everyone’s concern.  Water is the most valuable commodity.  It should be used wisely.

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