Water, water everywhere, but not enough to water the plants?


Water management is a Cinderella subject for Manifesto writers that should in 2015 come to the political ball. We both have too much of it at time of flood, and too little of it in times of drought. There is nothing new about this. All my lifetime we have alternated between difficult floods in winter  and water rationing in hot summers. Some say this is going to get worse. That’s even more reason for us to get better at preventing these extremes of outcome.

Fortunately solving the one can help solve the other. If we had more areas of ground where we could capture and hold water during times of flood, we could have more reservoir capacity for times of shortage. The water industry is reluctant to build more reservoir capacity to avoid shortages in rare hot years. It takes this view partly because it always has in mind very large units, and partly because the regulatory system makes financing such projects difficult.

Maybe we need a series of smaller projects attached to rivers which are flood prone, capable of taking water in in wet periods and putting it into the water system at times of shortage. Some of this could be part of the new housing projects around the country, as housebuilding adds to the risk of flash flooding as more of the land that absorbs water naturally is put under tarmac and concrete. Over to you, Environment Agency.


  1. ian wragg
    July 25, 2014

    I understand that due to the “settled” science of climate change we don’t need any more storage capacity for water and planning permission has been denied for any such schemes.
    The population is increasing a half a million each year but the infrastructure is years behind as the LibLabCON continue to deny culpability for this massive strain on our society.
    Today we see reported from the lazy press and BBC that the economy now exceeds the pre crash levels. It would be bizarre if it didn’t as we have added 5 million to the population. What they don’t report is per capita income is down as wages are depressed due to a flooded labour market. Tax and N.I. receipts are down so tell me John, how is this immigration going to pay for future pensions????

    1. Hope
      July 25, 2014

      The EU, through the Environment Dept, will not allow reservoirs to be built! Another fiasco brought to you by the EU that compliant Cameron will implement. What is Cameron going to do about it? The country does not need HS2 (another EU project) it needs H2o!

      His mass immigration policy cannot be supported by the existing infrastructure and public services.

      1. JohnB
        July 26, 2014

        Yea verily, the Teachings of the EU, the Environment Agency, the Prince Charles and the Great Green Blobs are all clear on this matter – and the water companies are in agreement with all of these.

        The Truth revealed upon onto us is that water is a rare and precious magical substance that must be conserved at all costs. This conservation is being achieved by increasing its cost, not building expensive storage facilities (the water companies are in agreement with this for obvious reasons) and imposing wider and heavier restrictions during the inevitably more frequent droughts (avoided only after the wettest possible winters).

    2. Kenneth R Moore
      July 25, 2014

      It would seem that a miracle has occurred.
      More goods and services being exported across the globe. People working and saving hard… and investing that money carefully..Er no…
      Well the governments ‘credible’ recovery plan (printing 375 billion of new money since 2009) and inviting millions of low skilled workers has so distorted the figures that they cannot be relied upon.
      The ‘recovery is just a big con and the next (bigger) crash is coming soon.

    3. Lifelogic
      July 26, 2014

      The “settled” science of climate change – yeah sure.

      They could not even predict hurricanes in the South East two hours beforehand, nor can they predict correctly the weather two weeks Wednesday in Bognor or anywhere else.

      Yet the BBC, the EU, Cameron, LibLabCon, endless NGO, charities, Ed Davey, Chris Huhne, Clegg, endless lefty actors and pop celebs ……. all want us to waste billions trying to fix the weather in 100 year time using just one variable (of the millions) namely C02.

      But not using nuclear, fracking or anything else that works of course just bat and bird chompers, that clearly cost far, far more than they are worth.

      Surely even they do not really believe in this patently unscientific nonsense plan do they?

  2. Mick Anderson
    July 25, 2014

    They have imposed “free” compulsory water meters around here, which are obviously going to go on our bills (plus interest) in the longer term. The next step will be to make them “smart” meters (dreadful phrase) so they can put the unit price up automatically every time the sun comes out.

    It all needs to start with proper planning – knowing how large the population that depends on the water is going to be, and where they are all going to live. Without that, any plan is built on very shaky foundations (cue somebody elses rant about immigration and UKIP….)

    The problem with storing winter water for use in the summer is the sheer volume required to make a difference. If the Government is going to insist on desecrating the country with the waste that is HS2/3/4, perhaps they should put a large-bore pipe underneath it to feed water south from the wetter North.

    1. Timaction
      July 25, 2014

      All roads lead back to the EU. I read some time ago our masters in Brussels won’t allow building of new reservoirs but insist on free movement of people. Anyone who works in the EU know they loath us.
      Whilst the legacy parties encourage mass migration from everywhere there is no plan for anything. The same applies to all public services and infrastructure that are collapsing. Why not build on the greenbelt and create 250,000 school places to accommodate them?
      The national emergency is mass migration and the EU and the legacy parties are day dreaming about the next election. Well dream on there is a solution when the public wakes up.

    2. Edward.
      July 25, 2014

      Thames water, had plans for a new large reservoir to built near Abingdon, in 2007 the Environment agency under the auspices of the UN agenda 21 sustainability lunacy – denied that a new reservoir was necessary, stating, “noted that need for the reservoir was not proven.”

      Sustainability in Britain means, use less water and be charged more for less – coz it helps save the environment. One ‘useful’ consequential side effect of this however as the Germans have found to their enormous cost – when the sewers do not have enough discharge run-off – the pipes crack and disintegrate.

      Brilliant – sustainability…………….. is anything but – sustainable.

      Wheels within wheels mate.

  3. Andyvan
    July 25, 2014

    Well leaving it to the Environment Agency has certainly worked well in the past. An unblemished record of abject failure. I think I know what we can expect from them.

    1. Lifelogic
      July 25, 2014

      Indeed perhaps put someone with a Phd in Beowulf in as chairman this time. But make them a Baron or Dame first of course, should do wonders.

  4. James Winfield
    July 25, 2014

    Blame the European Union. They are clearly stealing our water.

    1. stred
      July 25, 2014

      It is the EU that directs water companies and regulators to install metering in preference to building more storage. The EU has chosen valve cisterns for WCs, which allows slow leaks to waste vast amounts of water.

      I noted that our local council has insisted on a new house conversion taking the roof water right around the house to discharge to drains. Houses in the area had previously drained surface water to soakaway. Do they want to overload drains and reduce ground water or not?

    2. Leslie Singleton
      July 25, 2014

      James–No but they would if they could–Look at our Fisheries

      1. APL
        July 25, 2014

        Leslie Singleton: “Look at our Fisheries”

        We don’t have any fisheries. And to be fair, it was Heath that destroyed the fishing industry, but agreeing it make it a ‘common resource’.

        There is credible opinion that, it was Heaths destruction of the fishing industry in Scotland that was responsible for the decline in Tory voting in Scotland, rather than anything Thatcher did.

        1. Denis Cooper
          July 26, 2014

          There’s a chart here comparing the changes in Tory support over the past 60 years in England, Scotland and Wales:


          The damage to Tory support in Scotland under Heath far exceeded that under by Thatcher, but by then the levels of support were such that the Tory party was already starting to become a marginal force with the FPTP system.

        2. Leslie Singleton
          July 26, 2014

          APL–I bow to no-one in my contempt for Heath but he didn’t invent the idea: he agreed to their demand. Madness then, worse now.

    3. Lifelogic
      July 25, 2014

      Stealing no, but much of the cause of the problem is the EU’s renewable and AGW and environment protection religion. England is anyway largely a man made environment and far better for it.

      1. cornishstu
        July 25, 2014

        you need to look deeper to the UN and agenda 21

    4. Denis Cooper
      July 25, 2014

      Do you think so?

  5. Mark B
    July 25, 2014

    More people, creates greater demand – Simple. Fewer people, created less demand.

    Pumping water from the water table is far cheaper than finding, building and maintaining a reservoir.

    ” The company said customer demand was also expected to rocket over the next three decades, on top of a predicted population increase of 800,000 for London in the next ten years, . . . . “


  6. Anonymous
    July 25, 2014

    “The water industry is reluctant to build more reservoir capacity to avoid shortages in rare hot years”

    We know for sure that the population is going to increase so extra capacity is essential (regardless of freak droughts.) This is where government should intervene. Some decisions are simply too serious to be left to privateers.

    1. fake
      July 25, 2014

      Thames water wanted to build a new reservoir, environment Secretary said no.

      1. Bazman
        July 25, 2014

        They have shut 25 of them, so what is that all about, some sort of financial scam? Nothing straight forward thats for sure. It was blocked after a public enquiry.

  7. Bazman
    July 25, 2014

    No mention of the amount of reservoirs closed since privatisation of the water companies no doubt adding to the situation faced now John? Explain to us why not please.
    Many have been sold off for housing as the water companies run their companies on a knife edge to maximise profits. Imagine the situation if railways were truly private. No railways and when challenged would say we have a business to run. No water? Use less or pay more by meter is their strategy and very good it is too. What next unlimited electricity and gas? More smart meters please to enable a constant supply to those who can afford. Makes sense with food and wine the same should apply to the utilities.

  8. Roger Farmer
    July 25, 2014

    The answer is a National Water Grid. Lay a main artery from Keilder under the sea to the South East with off-takes where necessary. Much more useful than HS2 but not glamorous enough for many of your fellow politicos to dine out on. The technology has been available for years, it is just a matter of scale. Virtually no disruption in marginal constituencies, not much compensation to pay and the added bonus of getting some of your streams back in the south east. Just make it happen.

    1. Roy Grainger
      July 25, 2014

      Agreed. Also agreed they will never do it because the benefits would take longer to be seen than the 4-5 year political electoral cycle. Not sure there would be no protests though – another obviously good idea is the London super-sewer which is attracting massive opposition from all and sundry at the local level.

  9. lifelogic
    July 25, 2014

    The environment agency is highly unlikely to do anything useful. They will be much more interested in licences, fining income, regulating people and scaring people with endless flood and weather warning hot lines and the money they can raise.

    Just as the private sector is led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention as Adam Smith put it. The state sector too is led by a large but invisible backside. One that ensures that it grows like a parasitic fungus doing little of value but protecting the jobs/ fees/fine and any grant income it can raise.

    Such an organisation’s first task find a smart office somewhere pleasant for the staff, to buy lots of range rovers, choose a logo & mission statement, then grossly exaggerate the nature of any problem and say how it is bound to get far, far worse due to global warming, bird flu, pig flu, changes in technology etc. then complain about the total lack of funding it has been given relative to the gargantuan task it has been set.

    Lost of “expert” academic researchers are set to work to find more and more justification for more funding being needed. A huge PR department pushes this drivel at the public with the help of the BBC every day until some actually believe it.

    1. oldtimer
      July 25, 2014

      You forgot to mention the tax payer funded grants to the Green Blob so that they too can lobby the politicians, as a demonstration of “public opinion”, for more of the same.

    2. Lifelogic
      July 25, 2014

      What proportion of the circa 1200 staff do anything useful like rebuilding some sea defences, clearing ditches, maintaining pumping stations or building reservoirs I wonder? I doubt if it is more than 10% at best.

      What on earth was Lord Brown with his degree in English and with PhD with a thesis on Coleridge and Wordsworth doing chairing it?

      1. Bazman
        July 25, 2014

        Is it their job to build reservoirs and what’s wrong with bottled water like in France? It has been shown to be cheaper to have bottled water delivered in some cases than to pay for upgrades to water infrastructure so there is the answer. What next beer on tap?

  10. alan jutson,
    July 25, 2014

    You raise yet another interesting subject today, again with some sensible thinking.

    Certainly with more houses being built there will need to be a greater amount of water supplied to service that demand.

    The decision to be made is should we store water, or find a method of moving it around rather more efficiently from areas of plenty.

    The fact that we have split up the process of supply to a number of smaller monopolies, rather than one large one, will probably mean that the solution will be rather more complicated and expensive as they all argue over how much each should pay as their contribution.

    One thing is for sure, the customer will pay the price in the end, either through taxation of usage.
    Given that this is probably the only business in the world where the raw material is free, and simply needs to be collected it should be a simple solution to manage, but then of course we have people and companies thinking about what is best for themselves, and what is in it for me, which always complicates issues.

    Thus I guess more and more delay, whilst politicians, councils, members of the public, and water companies procrastinate for many years, and spend millions on public enquiries.

  11. Margaret Brandreth-J
    July 25, 2014

    You must live in a fertile place. Unfortunately boulder clay is not naturally absorbent, but then again the areas around the east and fens have rich fertile absorbent soil. South east London must also have fertile soil.

    There is so much water waste, not by the householder but by the water utilities that it is upsetting.It was a far better system when we paid water rates. The companies just use it as a money making venture, putting too little effort in and taking everything out.

    I was thinking of putting a tank at the bottom of my garden . I may well consider it again.

  12. Ex-expat Colin
    July 25, 2014

    The choices are big holes in the ground or de-salination. No shortage of salt water is there? Both require a distribution infrastructure. Both are very costly, and the latter nobody built when first proposed – 1970’s? Anybody thought de-sal through as new (high) tech yet? After all, its the new tech era…which is apparently going to solve most critical things, if you can wait long enough.

    There are no inter-connectors available. Imagine it..water pumped by wind turbine power only?

    The planet is 70% water and loads of it hangs about in the close atmosphere. Does not have a consistent behavior and likely CO2 (CAGW) gets the blame for that.

    So the next big threat is little energy and no water (frozen) because a bunch of PPE’s/VI’s sort of forgot about such occurrences. Think Siberia and N. Yorks.

    Its ok….nothing’s going to go wrong.

  13. A.Sedgwick
    July 25, 2014

    The privatisation of water has been a serious error. The cost of water/sewage is ridiculous, in my case our water bills are 50% higher than electricity annually. The profits and price increases are unjustified and major long term national projects need government involvement. The privatisation of water, much into foreign hands, has resulted in no competition and unsustainable cost for a life essential.

  14. Richard1
    July 25, 2014

    Being local monopolies it is entirely rational for the water companies to rely on imposing bans rather than managing their resources better. Obviously the UK has a huge abundance of water, and more than enough to meet demand, if resources were managed properly.

    As in so many other sectors what we need is competition. Where there are monopolies, whether public or private, producers will rely on rationing and blaming customers rather then the more difficult solution of providing a better service. The question is how do we force competition in water supply?

  15. John E
    July 25, 2014

    Sounds like the usual issue to me. We want the benefits of perfectly delivered utilities without being prepared to pay the costs.
    Just build proper reservoirs to meet the need in the South. Everything else is pretending we can have our cakes and eat them.

  16. JimS
    July 25, 2014

    “…housebuilding adds to the risk of flash flooding as more of the land that absorbs water naturally is put under tarmac and concrete.”

    Our wealthier ‘new Britons’, in particular, strip out front gardens to park their Mercedes-Benz and their rear gardens to create Indian courtyards.

    Less wealthier Britons of all origins strip out front gardens to provide hard-standing for their cars too.

  17. Richard1
    July 25, 2014

    Off topic but will you be posting on Russia? There seems to be a lot of hypocritical posturing by different governments on sanctions, with none of the proposed sanctions likely to be applied likely to make any difference. The only sanction that’s going to make a difference is to stop buying oil and gas from Russia. That can’t happen immediately and the only way it will ever be possible is by developing European and UK shale gas. So whilst we are all officially committed to the green religion let’s stop huffing and puffing on sanctions against Russia, the two policies are mutually exclusive.

    1. A different Simon
      July 25, 2014

      Yep it is all posturing .

      And hypocritical ; how many lives have been lost to British , French and U.S. supplied weapons ?

      Mr Putin is still the only World Leader who is fighting against the move to world government .

      This news flow and the infantile press coverage of it all looks a bit too convenient to me .

    2. Bazman
      July 26, 2014

      Where is my post on Tory party funding The City and Russian donations? To truthful?

  18. Lis Stedman
    July 25, 2014

    The Environment Agency has refused to consider major reservoirs for at least 20 years on the grounds that the water industry should exhaust the possibilities of ‘water efficiency’ first – that is, both reducing its leakage and somehow persuading customers use less water.

    Small, possibly housing development sized systems, incorporating a range of retention/infiltration options, exist and are known as sustainable drainage (SUDS). I’m surprised John doesn’t know about these, as the 2010 Flood and Water Management Act encourages their use.

    A national water grid is a nice idea but not workable because of the pumping costs. Limited grids, using local rivers to transfer water, are, however possible – some already exist, like the Ely-Ouse transfer.

    1. Martyn G
      July 25, 2014

      I am unsure as to why you suggest pumping costs are are limiting factor in piped water systems? For example, the reason one does not see hundreds (thousands?) of fuel tankers queuing into and out of airfields such as Heathrow, let alone RAF and other airfields is because they are all interconnected by pipeline, through which flows jet fuel (AVTUR) and petrol (AVATAG). Pumping costs do not seem to be a limiting factor in this case.
      I accept that differing specific gravity of liquids various might be involved but one would not have thought to be a major issue in distributing water via a national grid?

  19. Atlas
    July 25, 2014

    Ignore Man-made Global Warming claims – they are just political Marxist/Green spin. If a locality needs more water then building a resovoir to store it for when it is wanted is just plain logical.

    1. Bazman
      July 25, 2014

      Says who? You? Right wing delusional spin without scientific basis. Show us the science! What is needed due to global warming is a water grid. There is more than enough rainfall in Britain but in the wrong places.
      Maybe the market should sort out the problem by making the south so expensive many have to get on their bikes and move north. Good old do nothing, know nothing right wing policies to get the country moving…up north.

      1. Edward2
        July 26, 2014

        Still less than one degree rise since 1900 says the Met Office graphs.
        I think we may manage and survive this armageddon.

        The market is working in that it is much cheaper to live in some areas than others.
        The biggest employer in my town has relocated from London as it realised cheaper office rents and cheaper wages made it attractive.
        It was also attractive to those who relocated as they found it much cheaper living costs and house prices.1

        1. Bazman
          July 26, 2014

          The one degree as pointed out to you before is not one degree in a cup of tea, but in a large eco system where this is extremely significant. The graph also shows a steady rise since the 1850’s. This self sustaining eco system has never been replicated successfully in artificial conditions. Right wing delusional denialist do nothing know nothing belief that we are somehow safe whatever we do to this system has no p;ace in modern science or society.

  20. Max Dunbar
    July 25, 2014

    We are asking too much of the land.
    It can only support a finite number of people for a given per capita consumption of water. There are simply too many people in the south of England and the numbers are growing exponentially.
    If we had the same intensity of propaganda about population growth as we have about ‘climate change’ then measures could be put in place now to reduce the impact of water shortage, but we can’t plan ahead because we do not know how many more people are going to be added to the population.

  21. John Wrake
    July 25, 2014

    Provision of potable water is a basic requirement for any healthy population.

    Now we are being told there is need for some forward planning, if provision is to match need. So what sort of effort can we expect from our current government?

    Uncontrolled borders, allowing a continual rise in population and a consequent increase in the need for more water.

    A government hell-bent on supporting those companies who wish to undertake ‘fracking’ operations wherever possible, despite the need for massive quantities of fresh water in fracking operations and the real risk of contamination of the aquifers which this involves, which is a threat to our current water supply.

    And we should trust the Environment Agency to make the plans?

    How stupid can you get.

    John Wrake.

  22. Chris
    July 25, 2014

    The EU Water Framework Directive 2000 (which the Labour government pursued and the current government is apparently pursuing) provides the answers to why reservoirs and pipelines are not being developed to transfer water from water surplus regions to water deficit regions. See page 3 of the following document:

    EU policy related to water scarcity and droughts is based on the principle of
    a ‘water hierarchy’. This means that additional water supply infrastructures
    such as water transfers or desalination plants should be considered only
    when all demand-side measures, like water-saving, water efficiency
    improvements and water-pricing, have been exhausted.
    In the past the UK has built reservoirs and piped water from surplus to deficit regions – in the nineteenth century the Manchester Corporation developed Thirlmere to meet the growing water needs of Manchester. Of course significant investment is needed, but at least these schemes provide long term solutions, and reduce hardship and increase prosperity. Water supply is fundamental to a country’s needs, its security and prosperity, and to hand over the management of it to apparent ecozealots in Brussels, whose philosophy has no regard for individual countries’ needs and is based on questionable science, is both foolish and extremely unwise.

  23. Chris
    July 25, 2014

    The EU Water Framework Directive 2000 (which the Labour government pursued and the current government is apparently pursuing) provides the answers to why reservoirs and pipelines are not being developed to transfer water from water surplus regions to water deficit regions. See page 3 of the following document:

    “…EU policy related to water scarcity and droughts is based on the principle of
    a ‘water hierarchy’. This means that additional water supply infrastructures
    such as water transfers or desalination plants should be considered only
    when all demand-side measures, like water-saving, water efficiency
    improvements and water-pricing, have been exhausted.”

    In the past the UK has built reservoirs and piped water from surplus to deficit regions – in the nineteenth century the Manchester Corporation developed Thirlmere to meet the growing water needs of Manchester. Of course significant investment is needed, but at least these schemes provide long term solutions, and reduce hardship and increase prosperity. Water supply is fundamental to a country’s needs, its security and prosperity, and to hand over the management of it to apparent ecozealots in Brussels, whose philosophy has no regard for individual countries’ needs and is based on questionable science, is both foolish and extremely unwise.

  24. lojolondon
    July 25, 2014

    The Environment Agency’s main objective appears to be to do as little as possible, on the basis of ‘ecology’ and then blaming ‘climate change’ when things go wrong.
    While at least 250,000 immigrants are coming to the UK every year, we need to have plans to provide water for an additional million people every 4 years, otherwise there clearly will be a shortage.

    Cynically I believe this is no more than a scam to allow water companies to create a ‘shortage’ and instantly put up prices ‘to contain demand’ – exactly as Enron did in California just before they all went to jail.

    But, clearly, while Chris Smith is left in charge of the EA, nothing good will ever come out of that organisation, how can the government even pretend to depend on them to sort this out?

  25. BobE
    July 25, 2014

    Use and extend the canals. If planned properly water can be moved by using the canals and also provide a wonderful holiday and animal enviroment. Its probably just a matter of linking canals together correctly.
    Doubt it will happen, nothing does anymore.!!

  26. Denis Cooper
    July 25, 2014

    WFIMI – There’s plenty of water in the Scottish Highlands, and as I understand under established international conventions over 90% of that water would still belong to us even if Scotland became a separate country.

    1. APL
      July 25, 2014

      Denis Cooper: “under established international conventions over 90% of that water would still belong to us”


      Chuckle, Alex Salmond is planning to sell water to the English. Funny if it turned out Scotland built the infrastructure to pipe it south, but then couldn’t sell it?

      1. Denis Cooper
        July 26, 2014

        WFIMI = “What Follows Is Meant Ironically”.

  27. Denis Cooper
    July 25, 2014

    Off-topic, JR, I see that today the Telegraph is waxing indignant that the proposed EU sanctions on Russia would hurt the UK far more than any other member state.

    What a surprise.

    But nonetheless isn’t there some degree of justice in this, given Cameron’s role in stirring up trouble in Ukraine by going to Kazakhstan last July and publicly proclaiming that he wanted the EU to stretch from the Atlantic to the Urals?

  28. outsider
    July 25, 2014

    Dear Mr Redwood, You say that the regulatory system makes it hard to arrange finance for new reservoirs but I think the opposite is true. The regulated monopoly system gives certainty of income to pay for a new reservoir so relatively cheap finance is easy to find. Of course it would be virtually impossible if the industry was meaningfully competitive.
    For good reasons, however, both financial regulator and planners are not keen on new reservoirs when other measures, such as improved transfer systems, less leakage and, dare one say, more economy of use through unit pricing can achieve the same. New reservoirs mean higher prices for water and even the most utilitarian anti-nimbyist might concede that destroying and submerging people’s homes, farms and villages is not something to be undertaken lightly. Perhaps we should think about siting more new reservoirs by creating lagoons in estuaries or offshore, if pumping costs permit.
    Your suggestion of using balancing lakes to protect new housing developments against flooding is, however, very interesting. The biggest UK balancing lake is at Milton Keynes, where it was planned in at the beginning, seems to work well and is great for leisure. It works provided that storm drains are a separate system so is unlikely to be suitable for many old settlements. I doubt if balancing lakes would significantly improve supply and they would probably need to be undertaken by public authorities.

    Smaller balancing ponds can – and occasionally are – built in to commercial housing developments. They are most obviously useful in flat places where the water table is relatively high and heavy rains could cause small streams to inundate foundations. A limited application but one that could be used more. But, I suggest, no use in major flooding river valleys such as the Severn or the Medway.

  29. Monty
    July 25, 2014

    I suspect there is quite a lot that market forces can and ultimately will do to mitigate the problem, and iron out the peaks and troughs in the water supply. The discount supermarkets are periodically stocked up with relatively cheap but sturdy plastic rain barrels, which are easy to install and connect to the guttering system downpipe. They are a boon to the keen gardeners. More and more so as the metered cost of water increases.
    If I could get my hands on a similar plastic tank to collect the waste water from my automatic washing machine, I would use that water for washing the kitchen floor, cleaning the loo, things you don’t need to use drinking-quality water for.
    On the individual scale, a household saves money on bills, and escapes the hosepipe bans. But on the macro scale, with lots of households capturing the rain incident on their rooftops, the overload on the storm drains during a deluge is mitigated, and the demand peaks are reduced.

  30. Tom William
    July 25, 2014

    All new houses and/or developments should be made to have underground tanks to gather rainwater which can be used for anything other than drinking. Any surplus could go into the drains. This is a fairly common practice in Australia.

  31. APL
    July 25, 2014

    Here is what I hope to be a constructive suggestion.

    Estimates are there may be 300,000 abandoned deep mine shafts in the UK.
    It seems to me we could re-open them, re – line the shafts with concrete and fill them with water, using them as a reservoir.

    There could be hardly any planning objections. Take for example Markham pit in Armthorp. It closed in 1992, and I imagine (hope) the shafts were capped – a housing estate is there now.

    Shaft No1, was 5.1 meters in diameter and 865 meters deep. If it were uncapped and relined from top to bottom**, it could store 18, 200 or so cubic meters of fresh water. The other shaft No2, wasn’t as deep, so it’d store less, but would bring the storage capacity up to about 25,000 cubic meters of fresh water.

    Some of the 300,000 abandoned mine shafts could be similarly lined and used to drain away flood water in times of flooding. When the floods threat has passed, the water pumped back into the river.

  32. Iain Gill
    July 25, 2014

    Far too much leakage of water from the mains pipes, the oldest pipes need replacing more quickly.

    Far too little competition. Why don’t we split the production (reservoirs), transmission through the pipe network (national grid), and customer service (competition for customers needed here), into separate organisations?

    We need to increase the penalties for the water companies if they reduce water supplies to customers, either industrial, or consumers with stand pipes and the like. Force them to give large refunds to customers in such circumstances, to change the cost/benefit equation if they take steps to improve supply.

    Areas that are flooded more than twice in ten years should be able to withhold their water payments and use it to group together to pay for better anti flood measures.

  33. Ex-expat Colin
    July 25, 2014

    If anybody thought Scotland was good for water they should check that. If it was we likely would be good for Hydro Power and wee eck might have something to bargain with.

    Around 1980 Loch Katrine (Glasgow feed) was about 15 foot deep and the burns further north were near dry.

    Look forward to your McWhirter Lecture – if I can get a ticket

    Anybody know the cost of de-sal water now…say by the litre?

  34. ian
    July 25, 2014

    No water no electric no gas no exports no tax system just help to buy, foreigner money and funny money.

  35. ian
    July 25, 2014

    I also see you have poor doors now in london housing developments, how about that.

  36. ian
    July 25, 2014

    Third class citizen in your own country a bit like gaza don”t you think, what next, steal the shirt off your back and put you in the bin. WELL WORTH A VOTE.

  37. MikeP
    July 25, 2014

    John, perhaps you’d be kind enough to email me, as one of your constituents, to explain why this blog rejected a comment from me today on the grounds of me “posting too much” when I only post once every 3-4 topics. There are some posters above who have commented 2-3 times today ? Either you want to hear from folk or you don’t
    Reply I have no idea why it did that and I do wish to hear from you. I will ask the provider of the system

    1. alan jutson,
      July 26, 2014

      Mike P

      Have had the same problem many times recently, I just wait 5 seconds and re submit.

    2. Mark
      July 26, 2014

      The problem appears to be with cookies set by the site software. I had my post rejected for “posting too fast” (despite being the first time I had posted in a couple of days), but was able to submit it after clearing the site’s cookies.

      I presume one cookie includes a time of posting that is read by the site when a fresh post is submitted. Possibly it’s just the time on the site’s server that is wrong.

    3. Dennis
      July 26, 2014

      Yes this happened to me today also for the first time – obviously a glitch in the system.

  38. Mark
    July 25, 2014

    I did note that Mr Paterson’s choice to replace Chris Smith at the Environment Agency made it through the Parliamentary approvals process. Philip Dilley’s career included a long spell at Arup during which he dealt with the EA from the other side of the fence. Doubtless he will have some useful ideas on how to improve it, and perhaps he will be able to adjust some of the absurd cost/benefit analysis it undertakes. If water management must have a return of eight times cost as was apparent during the winter flooding, then we’re leaving an awful lot of worthwhile investment on the table – while HS2 is being justified at what in reality are negative returns.

    Of course, he will not be able to do much about the EU’s Directives, which seem to govern so much of this area. But I suspect he will be able to grasp and run with the issues sooner than the new minister simply because he has the right background with experience that she simply lacks entirely.

  39. ian
    July 26, 2014

    When water went private the water companies set up there own small companies to do all the big work, i mean contracted the work out to themselves, that”s why it cost so much to get thing done but the government does not care it call business. Nice work if you can get it.

  40. anon
    July 26, 2014

    The left know a lot about delusions.

  41. Dennis
    July 26, 2014

    If we want to have better water resource with no need for meters, and with reference to other recent posts and if you want no tail backs, park free almost anywhere with no time limits, always get a seat on any train, need much fewer energy sources, need fewer landfill sites, be less greedy in taking other countries’ resources, have North Sea oil and gas last longer, solve the housing and green belt problems, reduce pollution and carbon footprint etc., etc. – a simple solution but would of course take time – reduce the population of the UK to around 10 million, fewer even better as in Scandinavia.

    One policy fits all.

  42. Ted Monbiot
    July 27, 2014

    Usual cliche warmist abuse.
    Always a good signal that warmists like you are losing the debate.
    Humans live on this planet in areas that vary in average temperature by over 30 degrees and survive OK and have done so for thousands of years yet you alarmists say the end of the world is nigh after less than one degree rise since 1900.
    Tell us how you are going to get the total world wide agreement on each nations share of max CO2, then minotor audit and punish any who breach this limit.
    Tell us what the best global temperature is and how you get every nation to agree.
    Tell us how you keep this going for evermore adjusting CO2 rations up and down for each nation.

    It is alarmists like you who are deluded because world political practicalities mean that this agreement will never happen.

    1. Ted Monbiot
      July 27, 2014

      Meant to be my response to mr Bazman’s ranty post 4pm July 26th

    2. Bazman
      July 27, 2014

      This is the problem. Getting agreement on emissions. Green technology might be forced upon us by cost and pollution, so your right wing stance may well be true. If the earth temperature was 30 degrees across the world in difference. Life would not exist. You are confused.

      1. Ted Monbiot
        July 28, 2014

        But it is not 30 degrees all over the planet. It never ever will be and unlike you I can say with great confidence that I am not at all confused.

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