Is our tap water safe to drink?

The Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) regulates public water supplies in England and Wales.
In 2006 99.98% of Thames region tap samples met the standards - overall, the water quality standard is high and the vast majority of us are safe from any concerns.

You can ...
Buy a water filter to reduce limescale and chlorine which will affect the taste and smell of drinks and food.

What is in tap water that is bad for us?

There has been questions raised regarding fluoride, chlorine, E Coli, pesticides, algal blooms etc. and possible effects especially upon unborn babies.
Having said that, the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) are happy about the overall quality of our tap water.

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Find out for yourself what is happening with OFWAT - they regulate the water sector in England and Wales.

What is limescale and 'hard water'?

Limescale is the deposit left behind by 'hard water'. When water runs through rocks it picks up calcium and magnesium which makes the water 'hard'. You can find limescale in kettles, pipes, boilers, water heaters etc.
It is ok to drink but not good if you have sensative skin.

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Install a water softner or a water conditioner to reduce future limescale build up. For drinking water you can buy a water filter.

Is hard water costing me more money?

A furred up kettle will use more energy to boil water. A furred up heating system will make the boiler work harder and thus use more energy. Limescale in a shower or bath will be harder to clean.

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Use white vinegar or lemon juice to remove limescale from a kettle, shower-head etc.

What is 'Acid Rain'?

Acid Rain is the term used to describe rain that has a pH 4 or less. The acidity is caused by nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide pollution. Acid rain effects soil, plants, trees and water.
The damage to plants will reduce the photosynthesis process - their ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the environment.

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Reduce your Carbon Footprint thus reducing the polution that causes Acid Rain.

Can we drink rain water?

No. Rain water is full of pollutants and the process of purifying it yourself is more expensive then drinking tap water. Rain water is 'Soft water' so it is good for dishwashers and washing machines.

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Look into the possibility for 'Rainwater harvesting' - capturing rain water in a large vessel for uses other then drinking eg flushing the toilet, washing the car, cleaning floors etc.
This could reduce your consumption of tap drinking water by over 50%.

What is 'Grey water'?

'Grey water' is water from your washing machine, washing up, bath/shower/sink, etc (not the toilet), That may be reused eg to water your plants.
But reduce the pollution in the water first eg use environmentally friendly soap, shampoo etc. Don't water the plants with cooking oil etc.

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Consider what grey water you want to reuse and put a system in place that will allow you to do that hygienically.

What happens to our sewage?

Sewage from the Greenwich Borough goes to the Crossness Sewage Treatment Works in Thamesmead - its serves nearly 2 million Londoners. The sludge is burnt to produce up to 6 Megawatts of energy.
Visit the Thames Water web site at for more information.

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Give yourself a pat on the back for choosing unleaded petrol. With less lead in the air you can feel your IQ going up up up!

What is the water cycle?

The 'water cycle' is the term for describing the process of rain, water storage, evaporation, clouds, rain again.
At each stage there is potential for polluting the water.

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Look into this fantastic natural process the earth offers - and the benefits of clouds and rain to the planet.
There is also a natural purifying process as the water percolates through rocks.

Why should I use less water?

The purification process that water has to go through to make it an acceptable quality to drink is costing the planet.
Reducing the demand for drinking water quality will reduce the risk of a local water shortage.

You can ...
Consider 'grey water' usage, and 'water harvesting' as alternatives to using just tap water.