Tuesday, 6 June 2006

The Drought

Here we are a tiny island surrounded by sea and we have a water shortage. What is the government doing about it, not a lot it would seem. The south of England is the driest part and our lords and masters are going to build another 5 million homes. Where do they plan to get the water from? They have already scotched a plan to put in an arterial canal from north to south.


It's not that we don't have water, it's just that we don't have it in the right place at the right time.

We have a very good system of waterways, albeit they need some investment, but the system could be modified to ensure that the water that runs off down to the sea every time it rains is channelled into reservoirs (which never seem to be full).

There are two things that the Government need to look at:-
  1. Investment in the waterways and storage as an answer to the perennial water shortage problem.
  2. Investment in the canal system as a national heritage treasure.

No. 2 is long over due and can only enhance No.1

Funding? Well to begin with, there is nearly £1000 million outstanding in unpaid water bills. They could start by shutting off supplies to those who don't pay, making exception for those who cannot pay. (In Australia they install a tamper proof trickle valve. This allows enough water for basic hygiene and no more. People will be falling over themselves to pay up!)


At the end of the day the water shortage problem will only get worse. An investment program needs to be set up now. The benefits are many fold.

  1. There will be an increased amenity value which will benefit everyone.
  2. The dependence on hosepipe bans as a means of conserving the dwindling water stocks will cease.
  3. The gardening & water-sports industries will also benefit.
  4. Tourism within the UK will surely increase.
  5. For years now our reservoirs have not been full this is wasteful.
  6. Those eco systems that thrived around the artificial lakes of which we were once so proud have been seriously affected. A new vision will improve this.

At present, the future of the water industry in the UK relies on people not being allowed to use water they have paid for, when we are surrounded by the stuff. If we stand still the situation will only get worse. This cannot be the way to go. Though water does not lend itself to a 'national grid' system easily, it can be achieved. Most of the water courses are already there we just need to upgrade and use them more effectively. A massive investment now will ensure water supplies for the next 100 years.

Instead we let billions of gallons of rain water flow into the sea when large quantities of it could be piped into our empty reservoirs. Not easy but doable. What is the point of having vast water storage facilities if we don't use them to store water. I have seen people here in Saudi drop pipes a man can stand up in, 15 ft into the ground for hundreds of miles to solve their water shortage. Why can't we?


The future of this countries water supplies should not be left to those valiant volunteers who for years have spent their spare time saving our canals from the ravages of time. It is the responsibility of government and the water companies . What the government need to do is open their eyes an see the potential we already have for solving this problem. Water supplies are 'infrastructure' that's what governments do.


Cut from a pic by SUE nb No Problem

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