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Watertalk Edition 16, 2019


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I researched and wrote the copy for the feature piece in the 2019 edition of Watertalk

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Watertalk Edition 16, 2019

  1. 1. 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 15 20 25 0 5 10 17015 20 25 0 5 10 SUMMER 2019 BRISTOL WATER’S MAGAZINE WHAT HAVE THE VICTORIANS EVER DONE FOR US? HOW CAN WE HELP YOU? PAGE 6 TOGETHER FOR GOOD PAGE 7 WATCH THE BIRDIE! PAGE 8 Watertalk
  2. 2. Watertalk / 3 Inside... 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 15 20 25 0 5 10 17015 20 25 0 5 10 Forest Live Westonbirt Arboretum Thu 13 – Sat 16 Jun Bristol Harbour Festival Harbourside Fri 19 – Sun 21 Jul Bristol Pride The Downs, Sat 13 Jul Bristol International Balloon Fiesta Ashton Court Estate Thu 8 – Sun 11 Aug Upfest Southville, Dates Keynsham Music Festival Keynsham, Sat 30 Jun German Bierfest Millennium Square Dates Bristol Festival of Nature Harbourside Sat 8 – Sun 9 Jun Squidge & Snap turn celery kaleidoscopic Turn to page 15 to find out how... Bring a bottle Bristol Water Bar The ingenious innovators at the heart of our history Page 10 It’s a birdwatching bonanza! Turn to page 8 for our guide It dried up and died, but we brought it back to life… hooray! Page 5 Watertalk / 3 Inside... 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 15 20 25 0 5 10 17015 20 25 0 5 10 It dried up and died, but we brought it back to life… hooray! Page 5 Baby eels (known as elvers) reach our waters each spring. They have swum 6,000km to get here… … and are 2 years old when they arrive. 26,000 eel barriers across the UK help them migrate upstream to find a place to live. They can live in our streams, ditches and ponds for up to 40 years. There has been a 95% decline in the European eel population in the last 20 years… … so 1,000 local schoolchildren are helping to protect this endangered species… … by releasing 5,000 (and counting) eels into the wild. Turntopage4formore Squidge & Snap turn celery kaleidoscopic Turn to page 15 to find out how... Spawn to be Wild Facts and figures The ingenious innovators at the heart of our history Page 10 It’s a birdwatching bonanza! Turn to page 8 for our guide @bristolwater The Promenade Queen Square College Green Millennium Square Broadmead Christmas Steps Single-use plastics are for suckers! Help us prevent 50 miles worth of plastic bottle waste by using our water fountains instead Join our refill revolution! Queens Road We are installing our new water fountains this summer starting with College Green on 19 June. Keep your eyes peeled and your bottles ready for the rest to appear very soon! Our award-winning water bar will be hitting the road again this summer, keeping festival fans happily hydrated with unlimited refills of cool, clean drinking water…
  3. 3. 4 / Watertalk Watertalk / 5 @bristolwater News O urYouthBoardisbackfor asecondyearofbluesky thinking.Consistingof20 A-levelandcollegestudentsfromthe BristolWaterarea,theYouthBoard givesbrightsparksthechancetohelp shapeandplanourfutureoperations, sharetheirideasatanexecutivelevel andpotentiallykick-startacareerin thebusinessworld. BusinessstudiesstudentBonnie fromKingsofWessexAcademy enjoyedthechancetogetunderthe skinofBristolWater.“Iwasabletolearn aboutlotsofdifferentpositionswithin BristolWaterbutalso[discovered] thatpeoplearesounawareofthings companiesdo,”shesays. HaurafromBadmintonSchool particularlyenjoyedworkingwitha rangeofdifferentpeopleandfiguring outhowtocommunicateideasin wayseveryonecouldunderstand. “Evenifyou’renotinterested inbusiness,itopensuplotsof opportunities,”shesays. Weusethesessionstolearnfrom ourcustomersofthefuture,listening totheirideasandformulatingwayswe canimproveourservice. EarlierthisyearBristolWaterCEO MelKaramjoinedcolleaguesfrom acrossthebusinesstotakepartina specialactivitydayatBedminster DownSchool.Theaimoftheday wastoengagepupilswithSTEM (science,technology,engineering andmathematics)andtheworkplace throughhands-onactivities. Representativesfromourdifferent departmentshostedacareers carouselgivingyearninestudents theopportunitytoexploreandlearn moreaboutthevariouscareeroptions availableatBristolWater. Ask the youth Our Youth Board and school activity days give us a chance to connect with and learn from our customers of the future River phoenix “L ost river returns more than 60 years after it dried up and died” screamed The Independent in April, thrusting our scheme to restore a lost section of the River Chew on to the national stage. The river is now half a kilometre longer for the first time in more than half a century and, points out The Guardian, offers “new habitat for several species of rare and threatened wildlife”. In fact, it’s thought the restored river, which wends its way through a 1950s poplar and alder plantation, will help endangered species like the European eel (which is more endangered than the giant panda) and encourage populations of water vole, white clawed crayfish, salmon, trout, chub, carp, pike and stickleback. As part of the scheme, local people are being trained in ecology so that they can make sure the new wildlife settles into its home. “The river will offer a considerable environmental benefit,” says Matthew Pitts, Catchment Strategy Manager for Bristol Water. “We’ve devised a new, more natural flow regime to benefit the river ecology and instantly created half a kilometre of river. We should see a healthier river and healthier fish populations.” More than half a century after it had dried up, our scheme has successfully restored a lost section of the River Chew and will provide a new home for endangered species Did you know..? If you lose supply and we don’t restore it within 12 hours, we’ll now pay you £30 for a household and £75 for a business. Good to know! What’s more endangered than the red panda and blue whale? W e’ll give you a clue: you’ll find this species swimming around our streams, ditches and ponds. The answer is the European eel and their numbers have declined by about 90% since the 1970s. To help, we are working with Avon Wildlife Trust on Spawn to be Wild, an award-winning project which sees more than 1,000 local schoolchildren across the area raising elvers (baby eels) before releasing them into Blagdon Lake. So far 5,000 eels have been released and we hope many more will follow. Spawn to be Wild Facts and figures Baby eels (known as elvers) reach our waters each spring. They have swum 6,000km to get here… … and are 2 years old when they arrive. 26,000 eel barriers across the UK help them migrate upstream to find a place to live. They can live in our streams, ditches and ponds for up to 40 years. There has been a 95% decline in the European eel population in the last 20 years… … so 1,000 local schoolchildren are helping to protect this endangered species… … by releasing 5,000 (and counting) eels into the wild.
  4. 4. @bristolwater 6 / Watertalk Can we help you? Our support ranges from debt advice to a discount on bills, flexible payment plans and a priority service which provides extra help for those with additional needs. Whether you’re experiencing money worries, struggling to stay on top of your bill or having trouble accessing our services, we provide flexible support for those who need it. To find out more about how we may be able to help you, please contact our customer services team on 0345 600 3600 or visit www. Undergoing home dialysis Low-income households Disabled or have additional needs In receipt of pension credit Short-term financial difficulty In receipt of benefits Short-term need Missing payments Watertalk / 7 I n 2012 a group of local residents in Lawrence Weston were pushed to breaking point. The post-warhousingestateonthe outskirtsofBristolhadseenadecline inlocalservices,culminatingina decisiontoclosethelocalcollege.The buildingitselfheldhugeemotional tiesforresidents(manywentto schoolthere)soitsimminentclosure gavethethemthemotivationtocome togethertotryandimprovetheirlot. “Ambition Lawrence Weston was launched to change the balance of power back into the residents’ favour,” explains Mark Pepper, the organisation’s Development Manager. “We wanted to make sure the area was improved to meet the residents’ requirements and not just to benefit outside stakeholders and decision makers.” Working together ALWhaveachievedahugeamount, facilitatingtheopeningofaflagship Lidlsupermarket,savingtheyouth andcommunitycentrefromclosure, installingtwoplayparks,refurbishing theBMXraceclubandtrackand gettingthego-aheadfortheir£4.5m communityhub(picturedbelow). Allofwhichmakesgoodontheir promisetoimprovethehealthand wellbeingoutcomesoftheirresidents. “Wearehugelyproudofthefact thatresidentsareworkingtogether andinpartnershipwithstakeholders toimproveandregenerateourlocal area,”Marksays.“Theresidents’ aspirationshaveskyrocketed.We haveplansafootforacommunity- owned36-unitaffordablehousing scheme,community-ownedwind turbineandmoreleisurefacilities.” Huge rewards The £500 Together for Good cash prize has been earmarked to deliver ALW’s In Your Neighbourhood project, which will see them tidying gardens and planting flowers for South West in Bloom. “Thefundingwereceivedisvital inhelpingustoimprovetheoverall lookandfeelofLawrenceWeston, whichwillfurtherencourage residentstotakeprideintheirarea,” saysMark.“Oureffortsresultinhuge rewardsfortheneighbourhood, makingitanevenbetterplacetolive todayandinthefuture.” Everymonthalocalprojectorcharitywithinour supplyareawins£500cash.Nohiddenfees,noties, nodrama.It’spartofourTogetherforGoodscheme andwespeaktoformerwinners, AmbitionLawrence Weston,tofindouthowthemoneyhashelped HowtoapplyTo be in with a chance of winning £500 for your local charity of community group, post on our Facebook Group More to Water and you will be entered into the draw directly. Alternatively, visit www.bristolwater. and fill out the form. The winner is drawn live on Facebook on the first working day of each month. Good luck! Hall of fame ALW’s achievements so far New Lidl supermarket: opened Youth and community centre: saved BMX race track: installed Two new play parks: built Neighbourhood development plan: delivered £4.5m community hub: approved To find out more about Ambition Lawrence Weston, visit goodGoodfor TogetherTogether
  5. 5. Mute swans During the Middle Ages, these valuable birds were traded between noblemen. The owners would create unique patterns in the beaks to show the birds belonged to them. Greatcrestedgrebe They have an elaborate courtship display which sees the two birds dive to collect weed and, as they meet, rise vertically. Mallard After the breeding season, the males replace their bright body feathers with duller brown ones like the females. 8 / Watertalk @bristolwater Tufted duck Diving deep underwater to find large plants and animals, tufted ducks bring their food to the surface to crush and eat it. Canada goose They fly in a distinct “V” pattern, which allows the flock to coordinate their movements, such as a change in flight speed or direction. Black-headed gull Despite the name, this gull’s head is chocolate brown and is only dark during the breeding season, turning white with a dark smudge in the winter months! Coot The saying ‘bald as a coot’ refers to the white patch just above the bird’s bill. Its feet have lobed flaps which act like webbed feet when swimming. HIDE AND SEEK Members of the public can access a bird hide from the Bittern nature trail, which starts from Picnic Area two (between Bishop Sutton and Chew Stoke). Permit holders can access a further five hides around Chew Valley Lake, alongside two hides at Blagdon Lake, and gain access to three tanks at Barrow Gurney. Permits can be bought from Woodford Lodge and you need to be a member of a naturalist society to purchase one. Shelduck These sociable birds live in large flocks leaving their chicks in creches with one or two adults. If in danger, the young dive underwater while the adults fly away to distract predators. All scream for ice cream! Salt & Malt is opening a new ice cream parlour at Chew Valley Lake this summer. More details can be found at Grey heron Often seen standing still on one leg in shallow waters, patiently waiting for fish to swim close enough for them to snatch up and eat. Watch the birdie! From geese and gulls to great crested grebes, more than 260 different bird species have visited Chew Valley Lake, keeping twitchers of all ages on their toes. To help you on your way to birdwatching brilliance, we’ve created this pull-out-and-keep guide. So grab your binoculars and get spotting… To discover what else you can do at the lake, please visit
  6. 6. Watertalk / 1110 / Watertalk Well, since you ask, they gave us sanitation, education, a fresh water system, railways, steamships, roads, public health and a transatlantic trade – not to mention a groundbreaking new system that would act as the beating heart of Bristol and a symbol of the city’s ingenuity and innovation WHAT HAVE THE VICTORIANS EVER DONE FORUS? If you imagine life in the Victorian era, you might think chimney sweeps, suffocating smog or Queen Vic herself dressed up in all her finery. But while the Artful Dodger was pickpocketing London’s upper-class and Alice went falling down that rabbit hole, a bunch of civic-minded big thinkers were sitting in a pub in Bristol tearing up the rule book. On an afternoon in October 1846, a bunch of revolutionary chaps gathered in the White Lion pub on Broad Street to discuss a groundbreaking new system that would act as the beating heart of Bristol and a symbol of the city’s ingenuity and innovation. Looking out of the window there was no Clifton Suspension Bridge in sight, no Central Library or Cabot Tower. Sitting in that room on Broad Street were some of the sharpest pioneering minds of the Victorian era – this was the first ever Bristol Waterworks meeting. Budd the revolutionary Now, you might not know too much about our history, and we’re all guilty of taking for granted the water you can instantly draw from your taps, but things were a little different back then. The idea of being able to drink fresh, clean water was, for most, unimaginable. It was widely accepted that beer was safer to drink than water – just imagine having to draw drinking water from the same river into which you would empty your toilet. Because of situations like this, the country was facing a cholera epidemic. In steps one of our founders, William Budd, who recognised the way to see an end to the cholera epidemic was to tackle Bristol’s water source. In the days of no computers, machinery or even metal pipes, make no mistake that the idea was nothing short of revolutionary. Rivalled by Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s team, who also wanted to supply fresh water to residents but only to those in Clifton, Bristol Water won the right to supply fresh water to everyone in a passionate and well-fought Parliamentary battle.
  7. 7. WHITE LION INN Feature continued 12 / Watertalk Magnificent pipes So began the hard work of supplying 140,000 people with fresh drinking water from Barrow, Harptree Combe and Chewton Mendip – 14 miles away from the city itself. In a feat of engineering, the newly formed Bristol Waterworks worked tirelessly to create pipes from hollowed out elm trees that carried water for three miles to Harptree Combe through Winford and on to a little-known reservoir in Barrow. Some described these pipes – which were 30 inches in diameter – as “the most magnificent work of its kind in England”. It might not seem that impressive to us now but the idea that you could transport water through valleys, hills and tunnels back then was inconceivable. Community at heart Thankfully other water companies across the country soon sprang up and the cholera epidemic was slowed dramatically. In fact, thanks to William Budd and his big thinking, the cases dropped from 2,000 to just 29 in Bristol alone. Since then, we’ve grown ever so slightly but our aims remain the same as those of our forefathers sharing a drink at the White Lion all those years ago: to place our communities at the heart of everything we do. With around 90% of our staff Bristol Water customers themselves, we can proudly call ourselves a local company through and through. @bristolwater PIPE DREAM … and reduced cholera cases from 2,000 to just 29! How did Victorian engineers transport fresh water to 140,000 Bristolians... ... when the water sources were more than 14km from the city? Bristol Waterworks hollowed out elm trees, 30 inches in diameter, to carry the water… Win £500! To be in with a chance of winning £500, all you need to do is tell us the year Bristol Water was founded (clue: the answer is in the feature). To enter, please visit whatyear “It was widely accepted that beer was safer to drink than water” Watertalk / 13 “Theservicewassecondtonone” Mrs Bean lives in a three-bedroom house and felt sure that having a meter would be a benefit, but was concerned that the engineer may have to dig up or disturb her beloved garden. “WhenSpencercametovisit,wehadanicechat,he listenedtomyconcernsandlookedtofindthebest solutionforme,”saysMrsBean.“Hewasabletofitthemeter thereandthen,anddidn’tevenneedaccesstomygarden orproperty.Aspromised,thegardenwasleftuntouched.” Sincethen,MrsBeanhasseenareductioninherwater bills,helpedgreatlybyheruseofawaterbutt, whichshepurchasedthroughBristolwater.“I’ve livedinmyhouseforyearsandI’monafixed income,soifIcanreduceanybillswithouttoo mucheffort,it’sdefinitelyworthdoing.” Theyputyouincontrolofyourwateruse,showyou howmuchwateryou’reactuallyusingandcanresult inlowerbills.WespeaktotwoBristolWatercustomers whoareheadoverheelsfortheirmeter… “We saved £150 right away”” TheWheatleysfeltsuretheywere payingtoomuchfortheirwaterbill anddecidedtotaketheplungeandapply tohaveameterfitted.“Wethoughtwecould probablysaveabitofmoney,”saysMrsWheatley.“Infact, wesaved£150rightaway.Theapplicationprocesswas prettysimpleandswitchingtoameterwasnohassle.”” The family of four have become extremely water conscious since getting a meter installed and saving water has now become part of their daily routine. “It really made us think about the value of our water supply,” says Mrs Wheatley. “Our little girl is a real water saver: she uses a two-minute toothy timer when brushing her teeth and only turns the tap on when she needs to rinse. We’re happy to do our bit for the environment.” W e hate it, customers hate it. And as almost 90% of our employees are customers too, we doubly hate it. Managing leakage is a complicated and challenging business that keeps us up at night. Many of our customers are rising to the challenge to help us by reporting leaks and getting a meter installed. Here’s what we’re doing: 1.We have doubled the amount of people we have looking for leaks. 2.We are managing pressure to reduce small leaks, which accounts for 50% of our leakage. 3.We are installing thousands of new loggers to help us find and fix leaks. Here’s what you can do… Install a meter! A quarter of leakage occurs in people’s homes and the most efficient way to find out if you have a leak is through your water meter, so we are encouraging all our customers to embrace water meters! if you have a leak, your water bill will be much higher than usual. To find out more, please visit meter!witha Sweeter WARON LEAKS
  8. 8. Science fun with… Squidge &Snap How did it work? Whathappenedtothestalksand leaves?Didtheychangecolour?Ifthe experimentwentwell,you’llnoticethat theendsofthestalksandleaveshave transformedintobeautifulcolours.This isallthankstoaprocesscalledcapillary action.Thethirstycelerydrawswaterup fromtherootstoitsleavesthroughtiny tubescalledthexylem.Ifyouripopen thestalks,you’llseethesecolourfultubes travellingallthewayuptotheleaves. You can repeat this experiment using stalks with and without leaves – which one wins the capillary race? 2. Fill each glass or jar about halfway with water. 1. Cut about an inch from the bottom of each celery stalk. 3. Pop drops of different food colouring into each glass. 4. Pop a stalk of celery into each glass and leave overnight. Watertalk / 15 Make a celery rainbow! Squidge & Snap transform the humble stick of celery into a kaleidoscopic delight in this simple science experiment You’ll need: • Three leafy celery stalks • Three large glasses or jars • Three different food colourings Method: 5. Revisit your celery stalks in the morning and take a look at the leaves. @bristolwater 14 / Watertalk Bristol Water Bar O ur free pop-up water bar made its way to 13 local events last summer, providing party-goers at festivals like Valley Fest and Forest Live with an environmentally friendly way to hydrate on the go. And you did us proud! By opting to refill your reusable bottles rather than buy a new one, you stopped 30,000 plastic bottles from making their way into landfill. That’s a pretty cool start when you consider that by 2050 experts think there will be more plastic than fish in the sea. The Bristol Water Bar has picked up three awards so far: the Big Bang Award for Innovation at the Utility Week Stars Awards, the Community Project of the Year and the Outstanding Innovation Award. But more importantly, the Water Bar gives us a fantastic opportunity to chat with you, our customers. We will be back again for summer 2019 at a local event near you, so remember to bring your reusable water bottle and get refilling. Water fountains I t’s been a year since we first announced The Jennings Programme, our campaign to bring the humble water fountain back into fashion. It is named after our former Head of Communications, passionate environmental campaigner Ali Jennings, who saw that free drinking water fountains could be key in helping the public bin their bottle-buying habits – and we agreed, laying plans to install several around the city. Now, thanks to our partnership with Bristol City Council, we are launching eight new outdoor drinking water fountains across Bristol this summer. Award-winningcampaignersRefillestimatesthatone millionplasticbottlesareboughtaroundtheworldevery minute…andthatfigureispredictedtorisebyanother 20%by2021.Bydeployingourarmyofwaterfountains, wewillprovideaneasywayforyoutorefill yourbottleonthego,whichwillnot onlyhelptheenvironment butalsoyourcashflowflow whencomparedtobuying newbottledwater. Since 2015, we have stopped almost half a million bottles reaching landfill We like to think of ourselves as much more than just a water company. Every day, we work with you to care for the environment and protect the natural beauty of our area. Take a look at what we’ve achieved so far… 50 miles ofplastic bottles KEEPIT GREEN
  9. 9. Whenever you want it, it’s there, keeping you, your family and your home clean and hydrated. So let’s hear it for the humble glass of water! Water!Water! I N T R O D U C I N G T H E F A B U L O U S L Y C L E A R… IT MAY NOT BE AN iPAD WITH UNLIMITED DATA, BUT IT DOES KEEP YOU ALIVE! WE WON’T PROMISE YOU NEXT-DAY DELIVERY LIKE AMAZON, BECAUSE IT’S THERE, AT YOUR TAP… RIGHT NOW! And we can’t give you interest- free credit like Barclaycard, but at £0.0001 per glass it’s pretty cheap already #BRISTOLWATER