Page 48 - ALG Issue 4 2019
P. 48

East Midlands
Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Northamptonshire and Rutland
 Welcome to our new members...
Whaley Thorns Garden Association Addington Road Allotments
Highfields Allotment Society
Fairacres Lutterworth Allotment Society
22 individual Members
Mr Paul Howgill
37 Meredith Road, Rowley Fields, Leicester LE3 2EP
07803 828 777
Adam Murphy
East Midlands (North) 0845 4786 352
Whilst writing this issue’s article I am on holiday in a small mountain village, Sierro in Andalucía, Southern Spain. It is hot, very hot, and the growing areas on the campos (our allotments or small holdings) suffer from lack of water. The amount of water is limited, and the usage is carefully directed to important areas of the plots after the heat of the day has gone. The quantity of their crops grown in such poor-looking soils is amazing and quality is exceptional, and I am constantly asking myself why I fail – with my access to unlimited piped water all through the growing season. Of course, the unlimited sunshine may help!
Our Leicester society's water consumption last year during the very hot summer was in the region of £2k. There are 300 members on 304 plots and there is free use of hosepipes with some limitations. When I walk around our site, the number of plotholders
who save rainwater is not as high as we would hope. Members of our society have had access to buying water barrels at two for £5. A frustrating thing is that some members are great and save vast amounts of water, whilst others that are near to a water supply just do not try to save the free rain water. Many are happy to pay the increase in rents of £2 per plot to cover water usage increases. I have visited many sites where the most ingenious of methods of water saving have been adopted. Wells and boreholes offer alternatives where possible and
eliminate water
bills. Again, I have
visited sites with no piped
water at all and they have
managed with saved water or water from brooks running through the site, and still grow good crops.
What may be the answer to the water usage question? Change society rules or tenancy agreement? Make water saving compulsory? There are many alternatives which many societies have adopted.
From my experience of walking through a very dry area of Spain and seeing their excellent produce, I am sure we can evolve methods to save and use water and grow good crops in our ever-hotter summers.
Whilst on the subject of water, you may have read my previous article about Water Plus or Water Minus? I am still receiving numerous calls from societies complaining about incorrect billing, wrong billing addresses, some sites not having water bills for over two years.
If you are able to contact someone at Water Plus, the information provided
is not always helpful. My own society has been receiving bills for the past two years and paying bills addressed to the allotments and the address of the site. As secretary, I pointed out the error and
I have visited sites with no piped water at all and they have managed with saved water or water from brooks running through the site, and still grow good crops
stated that they should be addressed to the
society at the address of the site. This is a simple request
and a simple solution but not where Water Plus are concerned. They want a utility bill to confirm that I am telling the truth. What document do I plan to send, you may ask? Why am I going to send them a copy of our old Severn Trent bill!? You could not invent, if you tried, how poor Water Plus have been. NAS have been in contact with Ofwat to pass on many of your complaints.
Paul Howgill, East Midlands Regional Representative
           48 Allotment and Leisure Gardener

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