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clogs16/06/2019 12:32:57
474 forum posts
12 photos

I used to live near Hyde, gtr Manchester and journey around Derbyshire.....there were loads of smallish reservoirs ...many were sold of as building plots......

where did the money go I wonder,

the main problems with utility companies is the scabs in suits that run it "for our benefit" NOT....

J Hancock16/06/2019 12:53:28
288 forum posts

To Barrie Lever , if you read the " terms and conditions" closely I think you will find what falls from the sky belongs to the water company, and how you use it determines whether you will be charged for it, or not.

Bikepete16/06/2019 13:16:40
219 forum posts
16 photos

J Hancock, do you know for certain of a particular set of T&Cs that states what you say? If you could provide a company name or the name of a government body or whatever, I am fairly sure in a few seconds I could find their T&Cs online. I would be very interested to look up the actual wording of the original document.

This info, found in a few seconds too via the magic of Google, from a company in the industry, suggests that this "they own the rainwater" idea is an urban myth imported from the USA, where some states do have that sort of regulation:

https://rainharvesting.co.uk/collecting-rainwater-illegal-uk-everything-need-know/

https://rainharvesting.co.uk/collecting-rainwater-illegal-uk-everything-need-know/

"Is it legal to collect and use rainwater in the UK? The answer isn’t necessarily obvious if we look at precedents from elsewhere in the world. In the American state of Colorado, for instance, it is legal to sell water butts, to own them, but not to use them for the purpose for which they are intended! The water rights and laws of the arid Western US states go back 150 years to when it was a case of first come, first served for everything from land to gold digging claims to water rights. So a homeowner is deemed not to own the rainwater that falls on their property and it must not be harvested. The rainwater belongs to the owners of nearby water rights in the expectation that the rainwater will eventually make its way onto their groundwater supplies. It may seem ludicrous to us living in the damp climes of the UK but that system has a grounded basis in history as the article in the Washington Post explains very well. Rumours abound of individuals being prosecuted and even sent to prison for harvesting rainwater off their own roofs.

What Is The Legal Situation In The UK?

Scare stories like these from abroad may have planted seeds of doubt in the minds of UK citizens regarding the legality or otherwise of rainwater harvesting here in Britain. In fact, it is perfectly legal and actually encouraged by most water companies, especially in the drier south eastern counties where rainfall is significantly less than along the west coast.

However, whilst there is nothing to prevent householders from collecting rainwater, there are standards and regulations that apply, especially if a cross-connection is made to the mains water supply. There are also regulations governing the supply of water for consumption, as well as general health and safety rules as one would expect."

 

 

 

 

Edited By Bikepete on 16/06/2019 13:17:06

Edited By Bikepete on 16/06/2019 13:17:45

Edited By Bikepete on 16/06/2019 13:28:20

RMA16/06/2019 13:32:59
144 forum posts
Posted by Samsaranda on 16/06/2019 11:50:28:

Desalinated water is far from palatable, I remember in my youth when we travelled to and from the Far East the ships used to take on desalinated water from Port Suez and Aden, it tasted foul. Nowadays in Malta, where we have friends, there is a small amount of water extracted from boreholes and the greater proportion of mains water comes from a huge desalination plant, the local Maltese rarely drink mains they have imported bottled water which they get delivered to their houses much like our milkmen used to do house deliveries. For me desalinated water is not an option but the way our country is going we will soon have to invest in it.

Dave W

Sorry, have to disagree. Desalinated water in Spain is very palatable. Unfortunately it's not the answer to the diminishing resource. One side effect as noticed in the Med, the salt extracted goes back into the sea and the fish can't take it, so they move on. Solving one problem usually creates another somewhere down the line.

Malta doesn't have any rivers and very little rain from what I can remember, so natural water is at a premium there.

No one in power seems to have the guts to recognise the common denominator to most of our problems......the world is over populated and demand for water; food; housing; schooling; hospitals etc is far too high. But it's not PC to say that is it?

SillyOldDuffer16/06/2019 13:33:44
4405 forum posts
957 photos
Posted by Mike Poole on 16/06/2019 10:43:12:

Luckily I live at the source end of the Thames and so get first use, London are pretty much last to use the Thames watersmiley

Mike

Thames Water (the supplier, not the river) is jointly owned by the Australians and Chinese, both evil regimes intent on World Domination. I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion, and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

Dr Strangelove apart, I believe Thames Water are still the UK's worst offender in terms of unfixed leaks. They prefer to pay shareholder dividends rather than mend pipes. UK Government doesn't exactly take a hard-line:

'We require the water companies to fix leaks, as long as the cost of doing so is less than the cost of not fixing the leak.'

So that's all right then.

Dave

Ian Johnson 116/06/2019 13:52:48
62 forum posts
15 photos

No problem with water harvesting in NW England, we went to the southport flower show last year and came back with a 300 litre water butt, free gratis from United Utilities! Who also supply our water which is the best in country, coming from lake vrynwy and the river Dee.

Ian

J Hancock16/06/2019 14:01:17
288 forum posts

To Bikepete et al.

Yes, Anglian Water and I'm sure all the others.

Note, I did say 'constructively' use, interpret that as you will.

However, in Belgium , most owners are actively encouraged to store rainwater which can be used for toilet flushing, washing machines,etc which discharge into the foul effluent system at no cost.

RMA16/06/2019 14:43:20
144 forum posts
Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 16/06/2019 13:33:44:
Posted by Mike Poole on 16/06/2019 10:43:12:

Luckily I live at the source end of the Thames and so get first use, London are pretty much last to use the Thames watersmiley

Mike

Thames Water (the supplier, not the river) is jointly owned by the Australians and Chinese, both evil regimes intent on World Domination. I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion, and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.

Dr Strangelove apart, I believe Thames Water are still the UK's worst offender in terms of unfixed leaks. They prefer to pay shareholder dividends rather than mend pipes. UK Government doesn't exactly take a hard-line:

'We require the water companies to fix leaks, as long as the cost of doing so is less than the cost of not fixing the leak.'

So that's all right then.

Dave

Yes, I'm afraid we are reaping where Thatcher sowed. Can anyone on here tell me which companies are still totally British owned? Shouldn't take long

Bikepete16/06/2019 14:44:04
219 forum posts
16 photos

Just like you report from Belgium, Anglian Water actively encourage rainwater re-use:

**LINK**

Their latest charging T&Cs are here:

**LINK**

Click the " Customer charges 2019-2020 " link to get the full PDF.

The only relevant mention of rain or rainwater is to do with foul water sewerage charging on page 21 - if rainwater harvesting results in greater than expected inflows to the waste water sewer (because otherwise the rain would likely soak away) then they would charge for this. Which seems perfectly reasonable.

But it provides no confirmation at all that "what falls from the sky belongs to the water company"

Re the original quote which you refer to:

"And, to really turn the screw, you will find that if you try to collect rainwater to use it more 'constructively', you will be charged for it !"

"Note, I did say 'constructively' use, interpret that as you will. "

Rather than make people guess/interpret, why not just say what specific uses you believe you would be charged for?

Then it will be easy to fact check that against Anglia's website.

SillyOldDuffer16/06/2019 14:55:49
4405 forum posts
957 photos

The Water Act 2003 is a total bore but if I read it correctly, it says everybody is right:

Subject to the following provisions of this Chapter and to any drought order or drought permit under Chapter 3 of this Part, no person shall—

(a)begin, or cause or permit any other person to begin, to construct or alter any impounding works at any point in any inland waters which are not discrete waters; or

(b)cause or permit the flow of any inland waters which are not discrete waters to be obstructed or impeded at any point by means of impounding works,

In other words a Water Butt is potentially illegal, except:

The restriction on abstraction shall not apply to any abstraction of a quantity of water not exceeding twenty cubic metres in any period of twenty-four hours, if the abstraction does not form part of a continuous operation, or of a series of operations, by which a quantity of water which, in aggregate, is more than twenty cubic metres is abstracted during the period.

If more than 20 tons a day is required, a license is needed.

Except, this can be varied by order of the Secretary of State. (Usually to deal with droughts.)

So, in the UK, although you do not own the water that lands on your roof, you have rights to it provided you don't go bonkers and take more than 20 tons a day. The legislation is aimed at large land-holders who might interfere with public water supply, not water butts in a small garden, unless the Secretary of State has reason to interfere, which is unlikely. The Secretary of State can also limit the amount of water a house-holder can take from the tap, even if it is metered. I remember a garden-proud pensioner from Devon going to jail in 1976 for repeatedly using a hose during a ban.

Dave

Samsaranda16/06/2019 15:01:30
avatar
724 forum posts
5 photos

As a historical point, in the Middle Ages when Valletta the capital of Malta was constructed, I think it was the first city laid out on a grid the fore runner of city planning, every dwelling had to be built on a cistern which collected the rainfall that fell on the dwelling. This was essential for survival when the city was under siege, the practice carried on and many properties even those built recently have cisterns under the property, the contents are used for toilet flushing and clothes laundering. We could learn a lot from this practice, if every new house built in UK had a rainwater harvesting system we could survive our frequent dry spells without the threat of water restrictions. Not sure how the utilities would view reduced sales/profits.

Dave W

RMA16/06/2019 15:13:18
144 forum posts

Totally agree. It should be in the Building regs just the same as smoke detectors etc. Common sense really but I'm afraid common sense isn't so common these days!

Bikepete16/06/2019 15:18:30
219 forum posts
16 photos

Good find Dave (SOD). But I'm not sure that provision is relevant.

The definitions/interpretation of "inland waters" and "discrete waters" are given in the 1991 Water Resources Act:

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1991/57/section/221

It's possible a subsequent amendment changed these or they're defined elsewhere differently, but from that text they do not seem to me to include anything even vaguely interpretable as including rainwater collection.

“discrete waters” means inland waters so far as they comprise—
(a)a lake, pond or reservoir which does not discharge to any other inland waters; or
(b)one of a group of two or more lakes, ponds or reservoirs (whether near to or distant from each other) and of watercourses or mains connecting them, where none of the inland waters in the group discharges to any inland waters outside the group;

“inland waters” means the whole or any part of—
(a)any river, stream or other watercourse (within the meaning of Chapter II of Part II of this Act), whether natural or artificial and whether tidal or not;
(b)any lake or pond, whether natural or artificial, or any reservoir or dock, in so far as the lake, pond, reservoir or dock does not fall within paragraph (a) of this definition; and
(c)so much of any channel, creek, bay, estuary or arm of the sea as does not fall within paragraph (a) or (b) of this definition;

All you said applies to watercourses/ponds etc., but I don't see that it applies to rainwater collection. (I am not a lawyer!)

Edited By Bikepete on 16/06/2019 15:18:47

Anthony Knights16/06/2019 16:39:50
235 forum posts
72 photos

I have a total of 4 water butts on my property which gives me a reserve if about 160 gallons in the event of a drought. This will water my garden instead of using tap water, something the water company should be grateful for. If things got really bad, I suppose I could boil it before drinking it. The thing that really annoys me is that you still have to pay the water bill, even when they can't supply you, Where else does this happen ?

Ian Johnson 116/06/2019 16:51:44
62 forum posts
15 photos

I've got no problem with water companies charging for water that I use. And they make it perfectly clear that the water charges relate to fresh water supplied in their pipes and sewage water taken away in their pipes. If my house wasn't connected to their pipes and was off grid I wouldn't get any water Bills

clogs16/06/2019 17:24:49
474 forum posts
12 photos

I'd like to add that there are properties in Grand Caneria that also store rain water below houses collected from the roof....in the mountains it is ducted by open troughs to houses / farms for use and storage....

and soon to be a an ex Pat living in Crete, their water is snow melt, gathered and treated for consumption ...

Last year they collected best bottled water in Europe cert....

and the last time I checked, untreated water for farms and Agri was 20cents per cub/m...also available for garden use.....

and this place is a mainly desert....!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nigel Graham 216/06/2019 20:04:35
298 forum posts

I've no problem either with being charged. After all you don't obtain anything from the shops for free! The charges are for sewerage as well as fresh water, and having a meter means I buy only the water I use.

The overflows from my three water-butts, one filled from the workshop roof, keep two ponds topped up and fresh. I've also fitted one with a micro-bore irrigation system for plants along the rain-shadow of the boundary wall.

I have wondered about running a low-volume dribble from the roof down-spout to the toilet-cistern, as much to reduce scaling as consumption, as I live in a hard-water area.

Gordon A16/06/2019 20:34:58
141 forum posts
4 photos

If I remember correctly, during the water shortage of 1976 the UK government issued the advice to "Save water and shower with a friend" !

V8Eng16/06/2019 21:15:39
1280 forum posts
27 photos
Posted by Gordon A on 16/06/2019 20:34:58:

If I remember correctly, during the water shortage of 1976 the UK government issued the advice to "Save water and shower with a friend" !

 

One of very few bits of governmental advice that was worth following.blush

Edited By V8Eng on 16/06/2019 21:16:14

Barrie Lever16/06/2019 21:39:06
244 forum posts
38 photos
Posted by J Hancock on 16/06/2019 12:53:28:

To Barrie Lever , if you read the " terms and conditions" closely I think you will find what falls from the sky belongs to the water company, and how you use it determines whether you will be charged for it, or not.

United Utilities are fully aware of our rainwater harvesting system as they came out and asked why the water bills were so low, I showed them the rain water harvesting which is a German Rewatec system, they were quite happy and ran off to annoy someone else, they did however read our water meter monthly for about 6 months after this.

Maybe you could qualify your original post with what water authority you gleaned your information from and modify the post accordingly as it seems to be inaccurate at the moment.

Rainwater harvesting is a responsible thing to be doing on any domestic installation IMO.

Barrie

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