Replenish: Water and Healing

Replenishment is defined as way to “restore (a stock or supply) to a former level or condition” 1. Fresh water in the Elan valley (Powys) is plentiful, we see there is vast quantities of it collected and then distributed across the region to millions of homes. However, if you delve into the ground, you will find thin acidic soils, drying peat bogs and subsequently a fragile eco-system which is vital for several protected bird species. The steep valleys allow for little catchment of this freshwater to replenish its soils. Instead overtime, the spurs of heavy and short rainfall strip the soils of their nutrients, and in turn this freshwater becomes less mineralised, less clean, and more acidic.

It is recommended to drink water with a mineral content of around 300 mg/l but in the county of Powys this falls below 150 mg/l. Mineralised water can provide up to 10% of the daily calcium intake but currently the drinking water in Powys provides just 2.5%2. For an aging population this can have a massive effect on their wellbeing as water is essential to combat rising immobility as dehydration becomes an issue as the body ages3. In this way the health of the soils in the Elan Valley, that feed into the 6 reservoirs, directly affect the wellbeing of Powys aging population, furthermore Birmingham’s residents whose city is the biggest consumer.

Design project ‘Replenish’ will look at bio-infiltration to nourish the freshwater, and hydropathy4 to combat immobility for Powys residents. Research onsite can help to develop these ideas and techniques, to then apply in other parts of the UK which are facing similar issues.

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