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Dickson Urges NI Residents to Conserve Water as Hot Weather Continues

East Antrim Alliance MLA, Stewart Dickson, is encouraging people to make an extra effort to conserve water this summer.

Mr Dickson said: “With temperatures soaring in recent days, NI Water has reported that water usage has increased by 12 litres per person per day. Over a year, that’s more than 4,000 litres each.”

The increase, compared against figures from 2020, is a result of more people being at home for longer periods of time.

Mr Dickson commented: “Hearing the latest statistics has really concerned me as Northern Ireland was already using more water on average than other parts of the UK.”

It is understood that prior to the pandemic, Northern Ireland averaged 158 litres a day per person versus the 142 UK average. At present, this figure is now at 170 litres per person per day.

Mr Dickson concluded by saying: “The heat in the last few days has been stifling, so I can understand why water usage is going up. However, our water reserves are not without their limits and it is still only July. If everyone makes a concerted effort to save water now, we can hopefully stave off future problems.”

NI Water has suggested several easy ways to conserve water generally:

· Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth - a running tap can use 6 litres of water per minute.

· Use a bowl for washing vegetables – you can reduce water waste by using a bowl to wash and prepare your vegetables. Then you can reuse this water for plants.

· Make full use of your washing machine - Half load programmes on washing machines use more than half the water and energy of a full load, so wait until the machine is full before switching it on.

· Fix leaking taps - A dripping tap can waste more than 60 litres of water per week

For gardeners, NI Water recommends:

· When watering plants, use a watering can instead of a hose and consider installing in a waterbutt which is a great way to collect and reuse rainwater;

· Mulching around the base of plants with bark or straw can help prevent evaporation and even have the added benefit of preventing weeds which compete with plants for water;

· Watering plants during cooler periods of the day also helps to prevent evaporation and ensure the water reaches the roots of the plant where it is needed;

· Reduce sprinkler time - using a sprinkler to water the lawn can use as much water in an hour that a family of four uses in a day so instead of leaving it on all night, use it for an hour;

· Letting the grass grow longer in dry spells – to help keep in moisture and infrequent watering with a watering can will encourage roots to search for water in deeper ground. Lawns are extremely hardy and tend to bounce back to health even after prolonged dry periods.

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