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A new respect for water

I’ve been a tea addict for the past forty years but recently I’ve had to cut back to one cup a day and replace others with non-caffeinated varieties. I’ve tried to acquire a taste for green, camomile, dandelion and even liquorice teas but they don’t provide me with the satisfaction of a strong brew of English breakfast. After a few sips I pour the rest down the sink.

It was during one of these ‘this is disgusting’ occasions, that I recoiled in horror at what I’d done. Poured away perfectly good water, albeit flavoured, without giving two thoughts to what it means to have permanent access to clean, safe, running water on demand. I bet I’m not alone.

We’ve been having some unexpected hot weather here in Malvern and after tramping through the hills one day, armed with a bottle of water filled from one of 130 springs and wells,  I sat down to take a deep slug and catch my breath. Despite warnings of it tasting like rusty pipes or containing pathogenic bacteria, it was so pure it tasted of nothing at all.

Many famous people came to Malvern in the past to ‘take the waters’ including Charles Darwin who brought his daughter to seek a cure for her illness. I understand the Queen drinks it and people come from miles to fill their bottles from the springs that flow out of the hillsides.

That day, I found a new appreciation and respect for something we take for granted, especially in Malvern where we can access non-mains drinking water when we are out and about.

If you think about how much water we all use in the day; showers, flushing the lavatory, cleaning teeth, hosing the car, watering the garden, it’s important to assess how much we waste and what we can do to conserve it.

I use recycle rainwater, collected in a water butt, on my plants, turn off the tap when cleaning my teeth, wash fruit and vegetables in a bowl rather than under a running tap and am about to put a water-saving device in the toilet system. These are small measures, some might say insignificant, but it’s better than doing nothing.

Water is a precious resource and we are fortunate not to have to worry about having to collect it from puddles and dirty streams riddled with life-destroying bacteria which kills 5,000 children a day in places like Sub-Saharan Africa. It’s hard to relate to unless we’ve seen it with our own eyes. We can watch the heart-wrenching adverts on TV but still do nothing to donate a few pounds to charities who work hard to bring safe water to desperate communities.

With water projected to be the next resource we fight over, we need to stop taking it for granted in the developed world and be more conscious about how we use it.  It might be us one day affected by a serious water shortage. I know what it’s like when my other half has to turn the water off so he can do some repair plumbing!

It's said  need two litres of water a day to keep hydrated, whether than comes from food or drinks. I think our bodies tell us when we need to top up. Since I discovered that tea was affecting my iron levels and making me dehydrated, I’ve turned to pure, unadulterated water as my refreshment of choice and consider myself to be very fortunate.