A lot has been written in the last week about the looming possibility of a hosepipe ban in England. Discussing that in February is a worrying prospect, but it could mean more for the country than dirty cars and parched begonias.
In case you missed it, unseasonably-low rainfall in much of eastern England means that a water shortage is now a distinct possibility. That might not be particularly new for that part of the country, but for it to happen so early in the year is a major concern. If spring doesn’t bring with it a healthy dose of rain, reservoirs going into summer could be dangerously low.
‘Hosepipe ban’ tends to make you think primarily of the inconvenience to gardeners tending the flower beds, or to dads washing the car on a Sunday afternoon. To those of us in Scotland, of course, it’s a bit of an alien concept altogether.
But think of the importance of water to your business, and how you’d cope without it:
- It keeps staff hydrated: Britain’s normally-abundant rainfall might mean demand for a decent umbrella, but it also provides a good source of clean, dependable drinking water. Even mild dehydration can lead to impaired mental performance in adults.
- It provides sanitation: If you can’t provide a safe and sanitary workplace for your staff, you can’t operate as an employer. Washing facilities and flushing toilets are required by the Government. No water? No business.
- It feeds British industry: Water allows the UK’s vital agriculture industry to thrive, from irrigating crops to providing safe, clean water for livestock, so the rest of us can enjoy access to quality fresh food. Napoleon famously said an army marches on its stomach – if my colleagues are anything to go by, so do workforces up and down the country.
- It feeds British industry (again): The importance of water in allowing a huge number of UK organisations to prosper isn’t always understood. Massive ship yards require water during the construction of new vessels. Manufacturers use water to create chemicals, paints, inks and more. Breweries and distilleries need it to supply the huge demand in the drinks industry.
- It keeps itself clean: By virtue of the fact that water is involved in many economically-important processes, waste water is created as a by-product. Clean water, along with other methods, plays an important part in making this waste water safe to discharge into public water ways. If water couldn’t close the loop in this way, none of the above could take place.
Those are just some of the roles that water plays in UK industry – we’d like to hear how else water helps your organisation. If you’re in one of the areas which might be affected by a hosepipe ban, we’d also be interested to know how you are preparing. Please leave any comments in the box below.