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Welcome to the Summer 2015 newsletter

Welcome to the latest issue of our award winning newsletter. A shortish one this time in the hope to get back on track with the timings and also cos we need to get it out while our Frankie the flamingo kickstarter campaign is still live. We hope you find the contents useful, inspirational or just plain fun. As always thanks to those who have sent in comments, suggestions messages etc. We love getting them even though we can’t use them all.

The F.I.D. and the mysterious case of the sinking flamingo - Last chance to get your very own copy

For those of you who might have been snoozing during the last however many newsletters ‘The mysterious case of the sinking flamingo’ is a brilliant illustrated children’s book about why crabs hate combined sewer overflows and why flamingos love four minute showers! Written by Cath, you can back it on kickstarter right here right now. But hurry cos it ends this Friday (July 17th). Or maybe Saturday (it’s a bit hard to tell!) but it’s definitely a rush job for those of you who haven’t backed it yet. 

And before we forget big thanks to everyone who has got us this far, big and small. If you go onto our Frankie the flamingo web page  you can see a bit of Frankie’s back story and links to our corporate sponsors. Drainmarkers, EC1 Bathrooms, Regen Media, Treebox, and Waterwise have been supporting us since Frankie was still a few roughs. They have now been joined by Eurban, Aqualogic and Aquality. We are looking forward to working with them all going forward.  

AECB water blog

Thanks to the success of this newsletter and Cath’s shower blog, Cath is now writing an occasional water blog for the AECB, harnessing her technical nerdy side and leaving out the YouTube links.
In Blog No 6 she technically appraises using fuel cells in domestic CHP units, investigates ‘The mysterious case of the misspecification of electric showers’ and welcomes the introduction of the Propelair toilet. Check it out here. Always detailed. Always eclectic. Don’t miss it.

Dare you take our shower questionnaire?

How can we tempt you to do this in the absence of large dollops of cash? Ahhh, of course. Its anonymous, takes about three minutes, and Cath often tweets bits of it. Bish bosh – sorted! So here it is.

Water column – Leaky Loos

Leaky Loos – a cool alliterative title for a serious problem. Since internal overflows were allowed under the revised Water Regulations of 1999, a failing ball valve is no longer identified by a dripping (or running) overflow on an outside wall, but merely runs to waste down the back of the WC cistern. A good thing surely? Well actually No, as Cath explains. Check it out here.
Remember, you can now download most of Cath’s water columns in PDF format as they appeared in Green Building Magazine. Great for those of you who don’t like reading on-line or would like to print off and keep.

Bunny suicides - death by urinals

I love the bunny suicides by Andy Riley even though I feel maybe I shouldn’t. This has to be my favourite, combining as it does men’s toilets, dodgy plumbing and a cast-iron roll top Victorian bath. You can even get a bunny suicides app! Available for free here .

@CathHassell – Follow Cath on Twitter

As she says in her twitter blurb: Likes: plumbing, cycling, cricket and India. Will only tweet about water and toilets though. She has pretty much kept to that promise if you count all plumbing as either water or toilets. If you want to see what you missed go here or start to follow her. Currently full of teasers for the illustrations for the forthcoming book, which counts as lots of mentions of sewers….

Shopping corner - Evian babies

Back in 2014 Lydia visited Evian and blogged about it for our water round the world page. She added a rather funny Evian cartoon she found on the web. So far so good. Until last month when we suddenly got fined £66 for using it without permission! And had to remove it from the blog as well. But just to show that we are not bitter here is a link to the rather fab underwater swimming Evian babies and the (not water related but still very cute) rollerblading Evian babies

A year of showering variously - the best blog about showering in the world

In April Cath went back to the numbers to show how the shower of your typical adolescent can use more energy a year than heating a super insulated home. In May she mined the inexhaustible supply of what do adolescents do in the shower, provided an overview of behaviour change theory and invented a new one – GUDGE theory. And in June she asked what do you do while the water gets hot  whilst analysing how on earth the average amount of time people in the UK wait until they get under the shower is 1.75 minutes!

Can a leopard change its spots? Shower tales from the bush…

Jake used to work in the ech2o office (though not for us) and has been helping us get Frankie the flamingo into a book form. He would never actually admit to just quite how long he was in the shower so we knew it wasn’t going to be anywhere near the four minutes end. He left to travel round Australia, Thames Water heaved a sigh of relief and stood down their desalination plant. And then this popped into our in-box, complete with a random photo that looks as though he has a tent in the shape of a camper van!
“Oh, so showers... All this bush camping has helped (forced) me to find a new respect for showers, water usage and especially water pressure. Often we are off grid, many of the campsites require us to bring our own water with us (which we strap to the roof of the car). For washing we have 10 litre solar shower bags which are basically a bag with a shower head attached. (Bit teaching his grandmother to suck eggs here but I shall let him continue. Ed). We leave the bag on the car bonnet for a few hours to get hot, then suspend it as high as we can to shower under. We even have a pop up privacy screen to position under the shower (if required). We get about 4 mins from the shower bag, although the water pressure decreases towards the end.  One trick is to ask someone to squeeze the remaining water in the bag to get a final burst of pressure! It makes a decent shower.”
Blimey we thought, there is hope yet. And then he spoilt it all by adding…”Sorry to say, I'd still go for a 15min power shower any day!”  

Should men sit down to wee?

Seems like I do have some new men in my extended family after all. Or one at least. So well done to Mark who as well as complimenting us on the newsletter (thanks mate!) continued: Personally I always pee sitting down, a) because I am lazy and b) because when blokes miss the lav standing up as they invariable do the urine being acidic can rot floorboards and even joists over time as I discovered in this house a few years after I moved in.

If men had periods

Great article  by Rose George about if men had periods and a fabulous advert for ‘manpons’ designed by NASA no less! And just to prove that feminists have been talking about this for years here is Gloria Steinham back in the 1980’s explaining how men would justify their power if they had periods.

Fountain art

I love fountain art! Especially the new multi-coloured one outside Central St Martin’s in King’s Cross. But this one is pretty cool too. Its near Paddington is modelled by Lydia. 

Fertiliser pellets from urine

Alerted to this story by Katerina about her brother-in-law and the work he does re nutrient recovery from urine in Sweden. (See here.)  As she says: ‘It’s about developing a localised system for turning pee into use as fertiliser.  Needless to say, he's very excited about it (each to their own...)’.  Given that the system removes 98% of phosphorus and 50% - 70% of the nitrogen in urine as a precipitate which is dried and pelletised, so that can be easily stored and used I can see why he is. 

The long queue for the long drop

A lot of Glasto envy in the ech2o office in June. Not only did Safa get to go, she also gets to write about the loos as well!

Having only just recovered from the million miles I walked when at Glastonbury Festival two weeks ago I am now reminiscing on the delight that was the toilet experience there. With a total of 200,000 festival revellers the toilet queues at Glastonbury can be pretty long! Tip - always choose a set of loos near a stage playing great music.  Queues are unfortunately inevitable despite toilets being everywhere but there is a wide selection of loos on offer to cater for all. The two main options you will come across are 2,000 long drops and 1,300 compost loos, though the choice on site also includes portable toilets, urinals and shepees, disabled toilets and even a few flushing toilets (though I’ve never been lucky enough to find one!). My experience as a whole of the toilets is relatively pleasant. The queues are chatty, the distance to a toilet is never too far, the cleanliness is tolerable (they are all cleaned once a day), but of course the smell... no one enjoys the odour.
The real issue, other than the pong and length of queue, are the people who choose not to use one of thousands of toilet options on site and instead pee on the land. This is a constant issue and festival goers will have spotted at least once this year, in addition to the posters around the site, the video segment regularly screened on stage between sets with the message, ‘Don’t pee on the land!’ and an explanation as to why. The concern is because peeing on the ground causes toxic pollution of the water table. The ground water runs into the central Whitelake River and down the valley for miles around. On a hot year the heat will have dried the land, which means pee will enter the river more quickly. Meaning, unbeknown rogue pee-ers are creating a change to the local water chemistry, which has a detrimental effect on fresh water fish and other wildlife. The Environment Agency tests the water regularly, and has the power to close down the site if too many people have urinated and polluted the site. That sure is taking the piss! Therefore, if the message highlighting the degradation of the beautiful surrounding aquatic life fails to hit accord with festival goers, then hopefully the looming threat that the entire festival could be shut down as a result of this carless peeing just might!

Water around the world

No new ones to report this time around (although we do have several in the pipeline – currently stuck at the U-bend of Cath’s editing file if truth be told) so we thought we’d direct newer readers of this newsletter to ones they might have missed. Back in Feb 2012 Kanu Agrawal started this web page off by blogging about the wide discrepancies between water use of the rich and the poor in Delhi. Since then a wide array of blogs have been posted from beavers in Kent to water footprints to women’s urinals and everything in between.   
Remember, we are always looking for new posts so if you want to write about any aspect of water supply, use or sanitation in your own country (UK included) just drop an email to  with a brief synopsis about what you want to write about and we will get back to you.

The SWIG Awards are back!

As we said last newsletter we love the SWIG awards and will be entering ‘The mysterious case of the sinking flamingo’ this year. As the SWIG blurb says, they are: ‘The friendly awards, drawn across the whole range of sustainable water solutions, from shower timers to bus stations, Paddington to Peru.’ They are free quick and easy to enter (1 x side of A4 plus (photos) and there are a range of different categories so your project will definitely fit in somewhere regardless of whether it’s a building, a bit of kit, something for urban greening or more. Deadline is 30th September so only 2.5 months away. So why not go online now to download the entry forms. And check out the 2013 winners here

Last but not least

If this is the first time you are reading one of our newsletters, don’t forget that all earlier versions are available here. Full of links to technical downloads as well as random water stuff. 
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