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Free water butts to help communities become waterwise

Vicki Gardner (left), a teacher at Fairway Infant School, with her pupils and Southern Water’s Yasmin Sanders (right), celebrate their new water butt.
Communities in Crawley have joined forces with Southern Water to help make the most of local water resources.

Fairway Infants School in Copthorne and St. Mary’s Church in Southgate have each been awarded a free water butt as part of the company’s campaign to give away butts to community groups and organisations in Sussex which can put them to good use to help save water as part of conservation projects.

The campaign, which is run in partnership with Eco-Faith and the Wildfowl & Wetland Trust (WWT) Arundel Wetland Centre, aims to protect the environment by encouraging communities to collect rainwater for watering in public gardens and green spaces. This means that less water needs to be taken from rivers and the environment for drinking water supplies.

Vicki Gardner, a teacher at Fairway Infants School, said: “We are always looking for ways to encourage the children to look after the environment.

“The water butt will be really helpful, as it will essentially give us ‘free’ water with which we can look after our flowers and plants, helping them grow!”

Reverend Barry North, Environment Officer of the Diocese of Chichester, said: “Eco-Faith is a partnership that seeks to help churches and community groups to care for creation; water is vital to life and all people have a duty to do all they can to help the environment by saving water, reducing energy use, and being responsible in their use of natural resources.”

Jon Crooke, Deputy Director of Southern Water’s Metering Programme, said: “We are currently installing water meters for our customers across the South East to help secure water resources for the future, and want to support the communities in which we are working to save water, energy and money, while also helping protect the environment for future generations.

Mr Crooke added: “We have received a substantial number of applications for water butts already, but are welcoming further applications from community groups across the Sussex area.”

To apply for a water butt, Southern Water is asking groups to let them know about conservation work they have done, or have planned, for their community and how their work would be enhanced by having a free water butt to save water. Applicants can write a short description of their efforts and send it to waterbutt@southernwater.co.uk , or they can apply online at www.yourwatermeter.co.uk/waterbutt.

Successful applicants will also receive a free family ticket to the Arundel Wetlands Centre (worth more than £27) to learn more about water for wildlife.

Water resources in the South East are under stress and this is set to increase with the effects of population growth and climate change. To help protect the environment and ensure it can continue to supply its customers in the decades ahead, Southern Water is installing water meters across Sussex, Hampshire and Kent

To find out more about Southern Water’s metering programme, please visit www.southernwater.co.uk/metering or call the dedicated Metering Customer Call Centre on 0333 2003 012

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