Through the autumn and winter I wrote several times about our Department’s water use and our attempts to get a handle on where the water was going and then to find ways to stem the flow. As I haven’t written about this for time, it’s time to post an update. The impressive thing is that water use is down by about a third. The plot below may not look like it, because it’s hard to see the slopes. But you can see our Christmas experiment shutdown as well as the impact of the combination of Easter and the Royal Wedding that led to a substantial drop in consumption.The gaps in the plot are a reflection of the fact that we still don’t have an automated way of monitoring the water so someone has to read the meter each day.Although it may not look like much, the reduction is really quite substantial and this is clearly visible in the average daily consumption (averaged each week). This has been achieved simply by throttling back the on/off valves on our diffusion pumps. Not subtle but surprisingly effective.
What we really need are needle valves and flow meters. And that is what we have been trying to convince the authorities to buy for us. The problem is that they cost money. Money is tight and so no one is prepared to release the cash. But meanwhile water, and therefore cash, is haemorrhaging out through our pipes. It has taken us almost six months of to-ing and fro-ing to finally get these ordered and then only when we argued that they will probably pay for themselves in a matter of months.
Anyway, they’re ordered – assuming there is no further hitch we can start installing them in the next few weeks. And then we’ll see what happens. I expect another dramatic drop.
But of course, the water is just a side show. Our electricity consumption remains enormous and there is no movement on replacing diffusion pumps with turbos, or thinking about altering how our fumehoods work to cut their consumption. This is just the beginning.