Your enthusiasm and that of your correspondents for the water butt is commendable, but spare a thought for the poor old leakage engineer. If everyone were to suddenly start being sensible with their water usage, it would compromise his ability to meet reduction targets - no doubt linked to his annual bonus!
Leakage, normally expressed as a percentage, continues day and night, therefore a reduction in demand will increase the leakage percentage and the leakage engineer will be chasing an increasingly remote target.
At least water leaks return to the environment with (normally) no adverse effects.
The same cannot be said for the power sector. Leakage rates for water may be expected to be around 25 to 30%.
A centralised fossil fuel power station, however, leaks energy at every stage between consumption of the primary energy source (30%), through transmission and distribution (3.5%), to inefficient consumption (13%).
For every 100 units of fossil fuel consumed, 88 units go to atmosphere and in doing so compromise our children's future.
What a pity there isn't an energy butt! !
Peter Leach (M), ess consulting, Mold, CH7 4EL