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The Water Book
Fersiwn Cymraeg

The Water Book. Find it, move it, store it, clean it... use it

For anyone setting up a complete water system from scratch, The Water Book is the definitive guide to managing your H2O. Covering all the potential sources of water, this book shows you how to find, connect, maintain, treat and store water, making it safe to drink in the most environmentally sound way possible.

Whether you have a mains supply or a private one, if you want to understand it better or supplement it from another source, this book is full of invaluable advice on how to do it. If you are commissioning someone else to install your supply, get yourself armed with the background knowledge so that you can be sure they are doing a good job; it might save you thousands of pounds. Regulations applying to water supplies in the UK are explained. Case studies are used to illustrate solutions to real-life water supply problems.

It is essential in our changing climate that every household adopts water saving measures. Calculate your demand, reduce water consumption, find out if rainwater harvesting is for you and discover how to reuse water in the garden.

Chapters include:

  • - reducing your water use
  • - the mains and alternative sources
  • - connecting and fitting a new water system
  • - contaminants in water and how to remove them
  • - rainwater harvesting
  • - grey water recycling
  • - water in the garden
To order, click on the button to pay with paypal, or send a cheque for 12 + 2 p+p to the address on the enquiries page.

New for the second edition

Regulations on private water supplies are changing. If you live in Scotland, they have already changed. England and Wales are due to follow suit in 2008/2009. The way in which Local Authorities regulate supplies is changing, as is what they expect to see when they visit. Grants are now also available for upgrades to private water supplies. The second edition of the book explains these changes and how they affect you.

The Code for Sustainable Homes applies to new-build houses in England. It includes mandatory water efficiency targets. The second edition discusses how this affects water efficiency in your home. Click HERE for more detail on the Code for Sustainable Homes water requirements.

Updated figures, diagrams and information on new products that have become available since the first edition of the book in 2005.

Chapter summaries

An introduction to water

Water is continually moving around the planet in the Hydrological cycle. Understanding this cycle will help you understand where to look for water. Important physical properties of water are discussed, and the basic decision making process when looking for an alternative water supply is presented.

First things first; reducing flows and cutting costs

It is almost always easier to use less of a resource than it is to find more of it. Implementing water efficiency measures may not be as exciting as installing a supplementary water supply, but it is considerably cheaper and much more environmentally friendly. Using less water has the added advantage that you have less sewage to clean. The Water Book describes where water is used in the home and where it is easiest to make savings, including behavioural changes and technological fixes.

Assessing alternative water sources

When looking for alternative water supplies, the main considerations are quantity and quality of the water source. Whilst it is technically possible to treat almost any water to drinking water standards, it does not follow that it is environmentally friendly to do so. The Water Book describes how to go about finding water supplies and how best to access them.

Moving water

Once you have accessed your water supply, you will need to decide on pipes, pumps, controls and storage. This chapter discusses the various options and how to choose between them.

Cleaning water

How to clean water depends to a great extent on what the contaminants are that you are trying to remove. In general it makes sense to remove solids first, followed by any living organisms and then any dissolved substances. In domestic scale systems, solids are most commonly removed using filters, and a range of filter types are discussed, including sand filters and ceramic filters. Removing microbiological contaminants is vital, and various techniques for killing or filtering out micro-organisms are described. Many dissolved substances can cause problems in private water supplies, and this chapter discusses in detail the most appropriate way to remove the most common dissolved contaminants found in UK water supplies. The Private Water Supply Regulations are discussed as they apply to private households.

Rainwater harvesting

Many households in the UK have water butts and store rainwater for use in the garden. This is an excellent way of reducing demand for mains water. If you live in an area with high rainfall, or have a large roof, it might be worth considering a more complex rainwater harvesting system in which the water is filtered and then used to flush your toilet. This chapter describes when and where this type of solution is appropriate and how to configure a system.

Grey water recycling

Grey water is the 'waste' water from showers, baths, wash basins, washing machines and the kitchen sink (i.e. all the waste water produced in the home with the exception of toilet water). It is rarely appropriate to collect and store this wate for reuse in the house, and the reasons for this are described in this chapter.

Water in the garden

On an annual basis, water use in the garden is not a major consumer of water. However it tends to peak exactly when and where mains water is most scarce. There are a number of ways of reducing water use in the garden that are described in this chapter, and design of self-build irrigation systems including those suitable for rainwater and grey water are discussed.

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