We tend to discount one of the most wonderful benefits of deep rural life, most of the time. Our water system has improved dramatically over the past thirty years, and today it’s really state-of-the-art for a private water supply.
Requiring minimal attention, and just pumping away, our water usage is below the national average anyway, but the cost for that water, and the eventual sewage which of course is linked, is well below what any urban dweller might expect to pay. The average cost per household for the water and sewage they use, based on households with a meter, is some £4272 per year. Our costs, by contrast, for each of the two households supplied by the water system, work out at something just below £1000 per year. Oh, the financial joys of the rural lifestyle!
The comparison is not what we’d have expected. We ‘d have thought that we pay a premium to live in such an isolated and remote place, but not a bit of it. Of course, I haven’t factored in the capital expense, which must be amortised over the past 30 years, starting with the big drilling exercise for the bore hole. But now that that capital has been invested, the annual service, especially of concern to the next residents, is minimal compared to most urbanites.
But it’s really better than that for us. Our water is so clean that we don’t need to treat it with chlorine or borine, which has a double benefit: sourdough cultures grow without being pushed back by sterilising chemicals; the taste of our Sparty Lea water is sublime.
These things are a kind of fillip to our enjoyment of this rural idyll, but they also remind us that so many people around the world are struggling to get even a drop of fresh, clean water. Over the past decades, we’ve contributed some small amounts to WaterAid. Never enough, or commensurate with our good fortune.
The first human need, you could say, is water. Thank you, blue planet, for your largesse to us.