Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink? July has been the driest since records began and was the first time the UK had temperatures that exceeded 40°c. There’s a hosepipe ban now active in Cornwall with reservoirs operating at around 30-40% these and others across the UK will take a lot more rain to fill back up!
It led us to thinking of all the ways we use water, its impact on wildlife, and how we do, and can all, use water as the precious resource that it is so that we can reduce our human impact on the natural world.
“In the last 50 years, the human population has more than doubled. This rapid growth— with its accompanying economic development and industrialisation—has transformed water ecosystems around the world and resulted in a massive loss of biodiversity” WWF 2022
But, very much in Green&Blue style, we’re diverting our thoughts about the problem into actions. Here are some small things and big things based on water use that we think will all add up to make significant changes for our wildlife!
Ways to use and provide water during dry spells
Streams running dry, and soil in gardens has been parched! Make sure the wildlife in your garden has clean, fresh water on hand and somewhere cool to hide. keeping your garden (and street) visitors healthy and hydrated and your outdoor space a little more chiiiiilled...! 😎
Bee water! A sprinkling of fresh water in a shallow dish with lots of pebbles for thirsty bees! Lots of bees are morning garden visitors so do this in the cool at night!
Dog or deer water! At the entrance to your house, a thirsty hound, fox, badger, hedgehog, cat, rabbit or bird may well be looking for some refreshment as they stroll past your home, gives them a bowl they can reach into whatever their size
Clean out your bird bath regularly! Birds need to cool off in water and there are problems with Avian Flu at present and so cleaning regularly is of high importance. If you have a Green&Blue Modern Bird Bath here’s how to do this effectively.
Shade - plants, covers of all types such a sun sails, umbrellas, trampolines all give cooler spaces and are a great spot in which to place drinks for birds, insects and mammals
Collect water. Whether you have a rain butt or just a trug, collect as much of this precious resource as possible, after only a short spell of rain, the dry weather has returned very quickly.
Water plants with chemical-free household waste water to keep them going - all plants and green gardens help to create cool environments and shade at the ground level, longer term think about making your garden densely planted and diverse with native plants, long natural lawns and mulching so that soil stays more most, protects plant roots and so that it’s more resilient to hotter, drier conditions.
Create a sink pond
Supporting nature in all the small ways goes a long way to making a big difference for bees, birds, bats, and all the smaller wildlife. Here are some top tips from our team for the small wins we've made at home:
Create a sink pond for frogs, newts, dragonflies and other small insects and add in some bee friendly pond plants such as Ranunculus Flammula (Water Buttercup) or Mentha Aquatica (Water Mint), making sure there's a shallow area for frogs to exit and for bees to safely drink in. As a bonus, ponds that are managed correctly can be a great carbon sink!
If you'd like more tips for how to make a wildlife pond, @Kategbradbury has just published a book with the RHS called How to Create a Wildlife Pond which you should check out!
Green & Blue’s water pledge
During COP26 we took 5 small pledges by way of action based sponsorship of our B-Corp friend Matt Hocking. One was to pledge that as a team we will be more considerate of our water use. We are careful to fill our kettle only with the water required and to only boil it when a round of drinks is being made.
There are other ways in which we save, re-use and make use of water carefully from using eco-friendly cleaners and having a water hippo in the cisterns to reusing water in production. All the water that goes into our concrete products and for cleaning the mixer and moulds is harvested rainwater collected in huge tanks outside our workshop.
Have some other ways of using, saving and reusing water that work well for nature? Please drop us a line!
Image credit: many thanks to Titus from Blenheim Films for the shot of the deer drinking from his Modern BirdBath!