Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Shower Time

Millions of people face queueing for water at standpipes within months as the Environment Agency gave warning yesterday of the worst drought in a century

Reservoirs are mostly full after recent rainfall but groundwater stocks, which form the bulk of household supplies, are even lower in some parts of the South East than they were before the 1976 drought.

You may recall the prediction here, at the beginning of the year, that such measures would be inevitable, given the drop in the local water table and it remains to be seen how hard the drought will hit us here in Thanet.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

A failure of rain to fall inthe S East but a bigger failure of water boards and Govt to think strategically and ensure its population has water in one of the wettest countries in Europe. Once again we begin to resemble a thirld world country. No wonder Govt now urging speed in drought orders; lots of votes to be lost when the bowsers are brought in.

Nethercourt said...

Small wonder the water's not getting into the ground with everyone bricking over their gardens. Do you need planning permission to do it?
Sounds silly I know, but the scale of this practice has not been considered as far as I know......

Anonymous said...

They're not water boards any more, they're water companies. Perhaps that's part of the problem, although to be fair things got pretty bad in 1976 I remember, long before privatising our water was even a gleam in That Woman's eye!

Anonymous said...

anon again!
profit time.... the water companies profit's are about to be released... probably a couple of billion or more...
earlier in the year, I suggested that a desalination plant for Thanet/Canterbury and top up for Bewl, total cost around 30 million, 20 less than the ever expanding 50 million for Turner Contemporary.
I still feel that this is the answer as things are going to get worse before they get better.

Am I right and everybody else wrong?

Anonymous said...

What bugs me is that the water companies insist on blaming us, the consumers, and yet they're happy to make millions out of us at the same time. This country gets more than enough rainfall as a whole to meet its needs. It's their infrastructure that's failing us. What other industry would blame the customers for its own shortcomings?

They need to eat some humble pie, admit they've woefully underinvested, and redirect some of their profits for the next decade or so into putting things right.

worm said...

For your info:

On a factual note, water companies lost 802,000,000 gallons per day from their leaky pipes in 2003/04, which equates to 34 gallons per day per property; which is the amount of water used by one average person per day. The water companies have a target of reducing leakage to 734,000,000 gallons/day by 2010.

Anonymous said...

anon again!
thanks for pointing these figures out.
Just goes to show what a money grabbing bunch of wastefull idiots our main companies are run by.... re-nationlise the bloody lot.

Anonymous said...

As the published water company leak rates are only an estimate, they are likely to be conservative, and the true waste of treating water, then losing it before consumption is a scandal that won't be published. There is an excess of water in the north & west, just no infrastructure to pipe it south; with independent water companies there is no incentive to work together and reconcile the problem. Desalination uses excessive energy and produces mineral wastes - why create more problems?
Incidentally, the chalk aquifers around the Kent coast will suffer saltwater ingress if over-extraction occurs - a cycle of declining availability/recharge then occurs.
None of these problems are unforeseen, and all can be overcome with realistic investment, which would also boost the construction market - what is needed is an effective regulator looking after the consumers (electorate)

Anonymous said...

anon again!

a water Ombudsman? What a great idea...but somebody with the power to STOP the profit being 'stolen' by the companies, and properly re-invested to supplying the people that pay through the nose already.
If I can't shower soon, I will be very annoyed. Even desert covered Australia doesn't have to bear with these sort of moronic leaches.
Re-nationlise before it's too late!
I'd sooner the government got that sort of income to help cover the rising Health costs, or supporting worthy kids/old folk organisations.

James Maskell said...

How much would it cost the government to re-nationalise water? Actually, how much would it cost us (in increased taxes) to re-nationalise water?

Anonymous said...

Yes, let's not waste taxes on renationalising the water companies. I'm happy to be the smelly man of Europe!

Anonymous said...

We came perilously close to running out of gas last winter and Govt is only now considering increasing storage capacity.

The water regulator OFWAT instead of directing water boards in the south to increase capacity or invest in a supply grid has allowed them to put up prices dramatically and above the rate of inflation. We now see D of E taking a rather belated interest as voters are likely to be seriously jarred off if they have to imitate the women in the poorest countries in Africa and walk to the nearest stand-pipe.
Blair's legacy of 9 years in office is a crippled agricultural industry and a waterless south.; president Mugabe managed to do the same in Zimbabwe!
Welcome to the third world, people.

Anonymous said...

Um, wasn't it the Tories who privatised our water and put in the crappy regulatory structures in the first place?

Anonymous said...

It is always popular to blame the government of the day for all your ills, Anonymous of 12.55, but I would expect, if you were able to vote in the 80s and early 90s, you voted for the Queen of the Night, Thatcher. I would guess most of the subscribers to this site did. Thanet is a predominantly "blue" area. Remember that it was she who privatised the water, electricity and gas industries, among others, to whoops of delight from most of the country. It was she who decided that the private sector could do the jobs so much better than the State had done - to whoops of delight from most of the country. It was she who gave the industries to those who most commentators here have now criticised. Don't blame Blair for what you voted for those years ago. You are reaping what you sowed.

James Maskell said...

"Don't blame Blair for what you voted for those years ago. You are reaping what you sowed"

Ah, the age old excuse for Labour. Labour have had 9 years in power. The excuse does not wash (pardon the pun).

worm said...

Do we have a Labour Government???
I hadn't noticed!

As for the tax cost of re nationalising. Seize their assets. Then we should get a rebate!

Anonymous said...

The whole purpose of a Govt sponsored regulator is to enable the Govt to put input in when needed. My beef is that with this lot its always reaction to events rather than anticipation.
I'm happy with public ownership and this Govt seemed happy robbing RailTrack investors, so get on with the same with the water companies.

Anonymous said...

Mr Maskell, the Labour Party was not elected - in 1997, 2001 or 2005 - on a manifesto to renationalise the water industry or to legislate to limit/sequester their profits. If they had done so without a manifesto pledge, the Party you support would have been the first to condemn them. What would you have this Government do to remedy the mess the Thatcher years created?

Anonymous said...

I've been a bit of a nerd but you might like to know how much rain fell on Planet Thanet on the wet weekend of 6/7/8 May. East kent weather at Cliffsend reported 35mm. This falling on 128 sq km works out(i think) to 4.48 x 10 (to power9) litres or for those of you who like Gallons; approx, 1,000,000,000 gallons. If the population is 150,000 that works out at 6,666 gallons for each of us.
As you stagger back from the stand pipe with a bucket of water in a few weeks time you might ask yourself why Southern Water cannot supply the stuff properly.

Anonymous said...

During the drought of 1976 I remember watching Nationwide on TV. Sue Lawley or Bob Welling showed a bath with 5" measured on the side which was the recommended water depth for a bath during that drought. I remember them showing a soap that would lather in sea water too! I do not ever remember any standpipes in Thanet.

worm said...

Interesting article in Independent today:

http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article485481.ece