Let’s have a good water supply

I am disappointed but not surprised that a few warm days without rain and the water industry is already saying we need to be careful about use. Hosepipe bans are being introduced in some places.

This winter January, March and April all saw rainfall well above average. It was a wet and cold winter, with February and March well below average temperatures of the last 40 years. I remember urging the industry to collect enough of the large quantities of rainwater and snow melt that we experienced just in case we got a hot summer.

From the forecast and the temperatures so far this is not going to be re run of the very hot and dry 1976 nor of the even drier 1995. It is a bit more like a hot summer of yesteryear than some more recent overcast and cooler summers. We need to plan for these events, as they are well within our range of experience. Water is a glamorous growth product. As people get better off so they want to use more water to wash their cars, water their gardens, fill their children’s paddling pools and take more showers when it’s hot. As water is an entirely renewable resource, the industry needs to put in enough capacity to meet our needs. The industry needs to remember that in parts of the country like the south east the population is growing quickly, which means the need for more piped water.

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  1. Iain Gill
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    Well said John

    Having to use road tankers to move water from one reservoir to another is ridiculous when it is happening so frequently.

    Lack of capacity to treat water in places like rugby is the water company fault not the residents for using water

  2. Iain Gill
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    How much money is the BBC wasting hyping the NHS? It’s getting ridiculous. State propoganda at its worst.

    • jerry
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      @Iain Gill; So teaching/informing the nation about our national history is “State propaganda”, will you be so quick to condemn such programmes that are likely to air from May 4th next year…

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      Indeed what a load of drivel for an organisation that is killing perhaps 10,000 PA even compaired to the average European health system. It is dire and getting worse by the day.

      • jerry
        Posted July 6, 2018 at 8:14 am | Permalink

        @LL; “for an organisation that is killing perhaps 10,000 PA”

        Your figures come for where, a citation please or was that just another hyperbolic rant. There is a difference between killing someone and not being able to save them, plenty of people have the best private health care available that money can buy but still do not survive their illness, are they “killed” too?

        “compaired to the average European health system”

        If you want the UK to adopt European ways best we scrap Brexit, push for full Federalisation! I suspect that the majority of those who supported Brexit are those who support the NHS even more, hence why they voted Brexit – after all, that “Vote Leave” Brexit Bus also supported the NHS…

    • Cliff. Wokingham
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      Well said, I thought it was only me thinking that.
      What struck me, was that for an organisation so short of staff and under such pressure, there were an awfully large number dancing and singing.
      The coverage feels very North Korea to me.

  3. Lifelogic
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    I was near a large reservoir in Sussex yesterday and it was very full indeed. The reason they bring in restrictions is that it is cheaper for them to discourage & restrict summer usage than to build & provide new storage capacity. The way they are structured and funded makes this a cheaper option than increasing capacity and providing a good service to customers.

    • jerry
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      @LL; As you observed yourself, reserves are plentiful, the problem is in the water treatment infrastructure and post treatment distribution networks, both lacking capacity (never mind leaking), that is why the water companies ask people not to use lawn sprinklers, hose pipes and other discretionary high use infrastructure – there is no shortage of water in the UK, indeed how can there be!

    • Iain Gill
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      There is not enough financial incentive to not let the taps go dry. If your water has been off that day you should not be charged that day, simple.

      Turning off supply, a few lorries giving away bottled water, seems to be cheaper than fixing leaks, increasing treatment capacity, and joining up some reservoirs with piping so they can load balance without using road tankers.

  4. agricola
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    How many times have we asked for this. It has the monotony of Lent, it comes round every year. Your problem is that there is no glory in it, no tape cutting opportunities, it just lacks the pizazz of even an empty HS2 train let loose on the tracks. Despite being handed solutions it remains a none starter. Solving it would end the job opportunities among those in the UK who would ban everything, and are a stand alone industry.

    • agricola
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      Having read most entries today I conclude that UK government is a litany of failure. One realises that anything that works does so by accident of the people running it not thanks to any contribution of government. Defence is such an example, but everything else is a waste of space.

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    As you say the water is a renewable resource it all runs into the sea (or is evaporated directly). This either after we have used it or directly down the rivers. We need suitable fines on company that bring in summer water restriction to encourage them to build sufficient capacity so that restriction are not needed. We need more speedy and more flexible planning system for them too.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      Dear Lifelogic–Absolutely obvious we need to stop the fresh water flow just pouring in to the sea–Never got much an answer why fresh water about to enter the sea cannot instead be pumped up a pipe (possibly lying on the river bottom) with the water thereby provided being used, eg to fill reservoirs, near the headwaters. Yes I know it’ll cost to pump the water but I cannot see that being significant and in any case the present situation is ridiculous. Last time I mentioned this, someone mentioned perpetual motion machines but I see no resemblance. In flat country pumping cost should be especially bearable because it is of course raising the water that costs.

  6. Richard1
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    A better use of public money than HS2 would be development of infrastructure to move water from where there is a huge surplus such as wales and the North West to where it is often in short supply in the East and south East

    • graham1946
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      Why should public money be used to provide infrastructure for privatised water companies? The government should force them to do it. Some don’t even pay any tax. I agree there should be a national grid of water, but those making billions in profits, some foreign governments included, should pay for it.

    • Adam
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      If HS2 fails to attract passengers, convert it to H2Os carriages & deliver water diagonally southward.

  7. Newmania
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    I am unaware of any mainstream politician who against adequate water supply ………(snicker) To be fair to JR, the one sin he is generally not guilty of, is being boring, but this stuff makes me giggle .Our MP does it all the time .” I am for good , and against evil…”
    A month against she spoke out against hurting cats . Just what we need when the country is on the edge of catastrophe.

    • Edward2
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      There are plenty of mainstream politicians in the EU who have decided that building more reservoirs is wrong and we should conserve more and use less.
      Some odd green environment idea.

      • hefner
        Posted July 7, 2018 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

        An interesting but oldish (02/2008) document from EEA.europa.eu called ‘Reservoirs and dams’ comparing the situation in the UK and Spain. The U.K appeared (seen from 2008) to have stopped building such reservoirs in 1990 whereas Spain had continued and even accelerated its building rate.

        Isn’t it tough when reality refuses to follow a dogma?
        Do you ever ask yourself whether the UK politicians (of all colours) ever used the EU as a smokescreen behind which to hide their negligence/incompetence?

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      We ARE in catastrophe – in the EU !

      You cannot plan a drinks party when you don’t know how many are going to turn up or how many are going to bring a bottle.

  8. jerry
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    “I am disappointed but not surprised that a few warm days without rain and the water industry is already saying we need to be careful about use.”

    I’m not surprised that you are disappointed, but I am surprised that you are not surprised, after all it rather put the mockers on one of your flag-ship privatisations of the 1980s. 99% of the population still do not have choice in their water provider, nor will they as there are serious technical (and perhaps health) issues in constructing a post treatment national water grid that would allow increased capacity and the opening up of the system as has happened with electricity and gas.

    “As people get better off so they want to use more water to wash their cars, water their gardens, fill their children’s paddling pools and take more showers when it’s hot.”

    As if the ‘poor’ did non of those things back in 1976! Indeed taking a bath, as was more common back then, and we were advised to do, remember the suggestion about sharing a bath (which the tabloids at the time took as being somewhat suggestive…), had the benefits that the used water could then be easily syphoned or bailed out to water the garden or flush the toilet etc. Whilst most car owners back then accepted that their cars went unwashed.

  9. Stred
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    Use of meters instead of building reservoirs is EU policy. As May /Hammond and the Remainer civil service have arranged to be unable to actually leave, we will have to use watering cans.

    • Hoof hearted
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      So is HS2. As we appear to be stuck in or at least bolted on to the EU HS2 will go ahead. Good job we have no water intensive heavy industry any more we’d be on standpipes now.

    • hefner
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      Well, have a look at the OfWat website, see the various regional water companies, all in a position of monopoly over their own regions. Then look at your preferred investment platform, and search for each of these companies in turn, check how much they distribute either in dividends on their shares or in coupons on their bonds. They are all at least 5%, one going to 7.75%. So much better for investors than your plain vanilla saving account, and much safer (as a utility/infrastructure) than a standard share in a company developing new products and/or competing on the (inter)national markets.
      Now Stred dear, tell me, is that because of the EU or because of the botched privatization of some decades ago? Who do you think might be benefiting from these?

    • hefner
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      The EU introduced competition in the water provision and sanitation, forcing some countries to dismantle their nationalised water provision. For two countries I know rather well:
      in France water distribution and subsequent retreatment is the responsibility of the local communities to organize these tasks themselves or to transfer that responsiblity to a private company. In 2016, there were 81 such water syndicates and 1389 private water companies.
      In Germany there are around 6700 water companies (some directly to the local authority, most private) most (all?) of which responsible before a municipal or regional entity.

      So the conclusion at least the way I see it is that the potential water problems in the UK are much more likely to be linked to the UK market/political conditions than to EU diktats (and the EU one-size-fit-all argument usually produced by people who do not have a clue of what they are talking about).

  10. Nig l
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Take it back into,public ownership then you can fund a national grid to channel water to one part of the country that you have allowed to be ‘concreted over’ through unlimited inward migration and a desperate need to get political advantage through Local Authority house building targets and fix all the leaks.

    Thought not. Better to blame the industry.

  11. DUNCAN
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    We need another May micro-intervention.

    She should inform her liberal left friends at the BBC who can pump out their lefty message that mass immigration is not too blame for the massive increase in water demand offsetting any attempts by those nasty private sector profiteers in the water industry

    Welcome to the smokes and mirrors world of the socialist Tory PM. A world in which personal responsibility is a misnomer and state dependency is elevated beyond all reason

    Fast forward another 30 years. A UK populated by around 80m people with no doubt similar levels of water supply

    But eh, let’s not offend our EU masters by imposing limits on freedom of movement

    A sensible policy would be to manage demand by reducing numbers who use it. Of course the modern politician doesn’t do sensible, political expediency is paramount. Bluster and pandering takes precedent over doing the right thing

    Morality replaced by politics, the person replaced by the state. How the left must adore this PM

    • graham1946
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      The so called ‘market’ which you adore is supposed to cover demand. Doesn’t work though, does it? Not when spending some of the billions of profits instead of siphoning it off (sorry, no pun intended) for dividends payments is more their priority. How do you propose we should reduce the numbers who use it? Euthanasia? Enforced repatriation? Where’s the morality in that? Seems like just another silly ‘everything private wonderful’, rant yet again. Not a word of criticism for the privatised companies who do nothing about it, yet are directly to blame.

      • Dennis
        Posted July 6, 2018 at 11:07 am | Permalink

        graham1946 – One way to reduce population by 250,000 per year, a million every 4 years which hurts no one is to stop all immigration, even if they are all Einsteins, M.Angelos etc., and let those 250,00 a year leave, leave.

        Does anyone know how many of those leavers return and when?

    • Andy
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      Most of the population growth over the past 50 years has been caused by people living longer.

      Repeated governments have failed to invest in the extra infrastucture we need to accommodate these extra old people.

      I guess it’s just easier for the Tories to blame foreigners than penionsers.

      • Edward2
        Posted July 6, 2018 at 8:17 am | Permalink

        The percentage of 16 to 64 year olds in the UK rose by 4% during the period 1976 to 2016 (61% to 65%)
        The percentage of over 64 year olds rose by 5% in the same period.(14% to 19%)
        Whilst nearly 60% of the growth in UK population growth is caused by immigration 1990 to 2016.
        Stop making things up Andy.

      • Anonymous
        Posted July 6, 2018 at 9:26 am | Permalink

        A good percentage of those pensioners are still working – so your point is ???

    • acorn
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      Christ! I bet dinner times are fun in your house. Assuming you are not another Redwood alter ego like “Lifelogic”.

    • Blue and Gold
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      This is typical of the utter drivel that people write on this site.

      • Edward2
        Posted July 6, 2018 at 8:19 am | Permalink

        Drivel being anything you disagree with.
        Very annoying this democracy business Blue and Gold.

  12. Original Richard
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    The government needs to implement its election pledge to curb immigration so that we do not have an additional 1 million people every 3 years.

    • Adam
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

      The increasing resource & water added people consume are beyond what Conservative voters can swallow.

  13. Richard1
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    Are we sure this isn’t due to global warming caused by capitalism and Brexit?

    • Richard1
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 6:57 am | Permalink

      Sorry forgot: and Trump

      • cornishstu
        Posted July 5, 2018 at 10:19 am | Permalink

        and maybe the Russians too!

      • graham1946
        Posted July 5, 2018 at 10:37 am | Permalink

        No, just the rip off culture of some companies who have no competition and see us all as mugs who will pay any old price, aided and abetted by useless ‘regulators’ with no teeth and act more like industry representatives than public protectors.

      • Mitchel
        Posted July 5, 2018 at 10:47 am | Permalink

        and Putin must have played some role in it!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 5, 2018 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

        That is certainly the BBC agenda. All current problems are clearly caused by Brexit, Trump, global warming, unscupulous landlords, insuficiently high tax rates, lack of public ownership, greedy capitalists or perhaps the old Thatcher the milk snatcher!

      • Bob
        Posted July 5, 2018 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        don’t forget the Russians!

  14. Mark B
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    For a nation that is surrounded by the stuff plus, being well known for its rainy days, we should not be having this conversation. But once again you can follow the path of logic and arrive at pretty much the same conclusion as with so many topics here. It is just a shame that no one is listening or prepared to make people listen. And don’t get me started on burst pipes.

    • Bob
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      We’ve had water ouzing from our meter inspection pit for years now and Thames Water say it’s rain water.

      Well, it’s still ouzing, and we haven’t seen any rain for some time.

  15. Bob
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Is it our govt that are failing us or our system of govt?

  16. Ian wragg
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Half a million new consumers annually and not a single reservoir built due to EU environmental revs.
    Mrs May and Hammond wanting to continue the present policy of free movement.
    Meanwhile all the schools and hospitals of Eastern Europe are under used.
    Just when are you going to address the cause instead of the symptoms.

    • graham1946
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      Digging big holes is not the only answer. A grid and repair of pipes would do just as well. They’ve been at it for donkeys years, yet it is still a problem.

    • Andy
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      The reservoirs have not been built because UK governments are inept. It is nothing to do with the EU.

      Here’s a prediction for you. After Brexit there still won’t be any new reservoirs. Who the hell will you people blame for everything?

      • Anonymous
        Posted July 6, 2018 at 9:28 am | Permalink

        The difference being that those we do blame will now be wholly accountable.

      • Edward2
        Posted July 6, 2018 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        Wrong again.
        The EU has a policy of encouraging careful management of existing water capacity.
        This has resulted in a policy of not building new reservoirs in the EU and UK.
        It’s part of their environment policy.
        Look it up.

    • Timaction
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. But they are just legacy politicos!!
      I read that May has shown Merkle her customs plan before her Cabinet or the people. Just like Shameron. We know what side she’s batting for! She needs to be gone. Useless. Utterly useless!

  17. Peter Miller
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    The water companies, especially in the south east, have made almost no capital investment in providing additional local fresh water resources over the past 20 years.

    After the last drought, 5 major dams were planned in the south east, so that hosepipe bans could never happen again; all were quietly dropped on the grounds of cost. There are unused, or underused aquifers all over the south east of England which can be accessed by drilling. The almost untapped Bagshot Sands, for example, could provide much of London’s needs.

    The UK’s utility companies, especially their generously paid management and directors, need to be legally required to provide all the water and electricity their region’s require, or there should be huge fines, or even jail, for failing to comply. Only then, would the capital needed for new investment be assured.

  18. Old Albion
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Water is a life essential and should never have been handed over to private companies whose first aim is to make a profit.

    • Eh?
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      make a profit by???????????????????????????? Oh yes, by providing as much water as possible, more water=more profit.

      • graham1946
        Posted July 6, 2018 at 9:52 am | Permalink

        Not supplying more water – they don’t. The profits are realised by hiking prices, just like the power industry who want you to use less, then increase the unit price. Easy ain’t it for overpaid managers of virtual monopolies?

      • Dennis
        Posted July 6, 2018 at 11:12 am | Permalink

        More profit does not necessarily come from providing more water but from increased prices for the same old amount.

  19. Iain Moore
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    I understand the water supplies are there, the problem is the bore of the pipes can’t supply the necessary volume. It would appear another instance of our over loaded infrastructure , where we have too many people and houses . Unfortunately our political classes seem to exist in the fantasy world where the population can be grown without limit.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      It’s the increased pumping pressure used to supply the extra demand that is causing the leaks. The system wasn’t designed for new housing estates.

  20. Bandy Andy
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    It’s all the old people drinking it.

    • Bob
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      “It’s all the old people drinking it.”

      You mean the Brexiteers?

    • libertarian
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      Lol…. nice one

      • Bandy Andy
        Posted July 6, 2018 at 9:31 am | Permalink

        No sooner did I say it the real Andy says so too ! (above)

  21. A.Sedgwick
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    The irony is it is expensive. Our hose reel has been unused for several years – any offers? We use buckets for plants and car wash. I bathe in no more than the war time 5 inch restriction. Maybe there are not enough water meters in place.

  22. Anonymous
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Every resource in the UK is in crisis.

    We could not plan for this. It is not the fault of planners as they have been given no upper population growth limits.

    Blame old people all you like but how do they cause the schools, transport and water crisis ?

    Andy and Newmania purport to speak for Leavers

    “They did not want to leave the single market and so we should have a second vote”

    Only 70 thousand turned up to the march for that a couple of weeks ago

    “Leave voters are all old and feeble and can be ignored”

    – the majority of serving police constables will have voted Leave

    – the majority of serving soldiers will have voted Leave

    – the majority of serving firefighters will have voted Leave

    – the majority of England supporters will have voted Leave, and yes, the majority of football hooligans too.

    So who voted Remain then ? Mainly soppy BA graduates.

    • Andy
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      A majority of professionals voted Remain. A majority of high income earners (and consequently big tax payers), the majority of graduates, the majority of city dwellers.

      The majority of under 50s voted Remain. A big majority of under 40s voted Remain. A massive majority of under 30s voted Remain.

      Demographics alone mean Brexit will be dead within a couple of decades at most – probably significantly less.

      • Edward2
        Posted July 6, 2018 at 8:23 am | Permalink

        You tell us the vast majority of old people dislike the EU
        You tell us there are going to be loads more old people in the future.
        Then you tell us remain will be in the majority soon and reverse brexit.
        Your logic is seriously flawed.

      • Anonymous
        Posted July 6, 2018 at 9:33 am | Permalink

        You’ve missed my point entirely, Andy.

        I doubt your figures but the idea that all Leave voters are feeble and old is very wrong.

        Quite the opposite, in fact.

      • graham1946
        Posted July 6, 2018 at 9:55 am | Permalink

        Majority of under 30’s?

        Don’t think so. Most couldn’t be bothered to get of their backsides and vote. It might be a majority of under 30’s who voted, but not under 30’s overall. Again fact free Andy.

    • Blue and Gold
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 5:01 pm | Permalink


      People who appreciate the help EU workers do for the NHS, Public services, the fruit and vegetable supplies, voted Remain.

      People who love other cultures vote Remain.

      Oh, there were 100,000k on the march, people of all ages and many more elderly people, despite the heat, than were on previous marches.

      There were merely a couple of hundred pro Leave demonstrators on their gathering.

      • Anonymous
        Posted July 6, 2018 at 9:42 am | Permalink

        I’m going by the police estimate of 70,000 but still… 100,000 should not affect anything – especially seeing as 8 million Londoners didn’t bother to turn up.

        You show your own bigotry here:

        – I value EU workers who are really needed (visas only please) All we have ever asked for is CONTROLLED immigration.

        – I love other cultures (but I love my own too !)

        – When it suits you you want to ignore the referendum and go by march turnouts instead.

        Well I ignore marches altogether having been on the Countryside Alliance march of over 400,000 and and the Cornish Tin Miners’ marches and saw them ignored – quite rightly as even those amounts were not enough to sway a democratic vote.

      • Dennis
        Posted July 6, 2018 at 11:15 am | Permalink

        PEOPLE WHO LOVE OUR COUNTRY (controlled by the EU) VOTED REMAIN.

      • Hope
        Posted July 6, 2018 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

        Traitors is the word you are thinking of.

    • APL
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      Anon: “It is not the fault of planners as they have been given no upper population growth limits.”


  23. Adam
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    It is better to prevent a crisis emerging than deal with its consequences later. Early warnings of careful use & introduction of bans are preventive measures, so are sensible in such circumstances. However, he who captures enough water during plentiful times of rain & snow is wiser & better prepared at preventing the preventable.

    Success in life may be likened to the challenges of chess, assessing & deciding according to the many ‘what ifs’ foreseen in the long run ahead. On that basis, the young chess champion Rachel Reeves might be best positioned to replace Jeremy Corbyn as a Labour leader before a storm.

  24. The Prangwizard
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    The ownership structure of Thames Water has been criticised for its complex nature and additionally for its practise of remitting large dividends to the institutional shareholders overseas. Probably seen by them as a cash cow.

    Governments have foolishly and short-sightedly encouraged the sale of our infrastucture abroad and have brought about this type of problem ie. loss of internal cash flow. Water companies need to have the interests of our nation at heart, not theirs.

    Is the ‘EU dividend’ going to stop this government’s ‘everything for sale’ policy. Not likely when, if we ever leave, they plan to fritter it away.

    We need more reservoirs. They can serve a aesthetic and leisure purpose in addition to the practical one, but getting decisions made in favour is almost impossible in the present political climate. Our nation slips further and further behind.

  25. Mark Cooney
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Why should water companies bother to invest? They can issue a hosepipe ban without consequence of compensation to consumers, and I can’t change my supplier to a company that doesn’t impose a ban.

  26. Life is a real gas
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    We could drill sink holes for water in South Yorkshire. But uniquely, because of old coalmining, we might get methane, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide gases coming up too which would make us frown

    • Jagman84
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

      The compounds you highlight would be present at that location, regardless of any mining taking place. It’s called geology. It tells us to drill boreholes elsewhere.

  27. English Pensioner
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    We need to make better use of our water. In many countries, the “grey” water from showers, baths, washing machines, etc is fed to an underground storage tank from which it is filtered and recycled to use for flushing the toilets, washing the car, and other tasks which don’t require pure drinking water.
    I’m aware this is impractical with most older properties, but surely all new houses should have such an arrangement.

    • bigneil
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      All new housing should have the water system built in from new. And is there any reason why the South facing rooves cannot all be covered with solar panels? Also, there are massive industrial units being built everywhere, why can’t the solar panels be put on those rooves as well, while being constructed?

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      We are not in the Med for goodness sakes. This is one of the rainiest places on the planet.

      There are jobs I’ve had to put off until a few weeks ago because it was either wet or snow.

      • Puffer Fish
        Posted July 7, 2018 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

        Another ridiculous comment: have you ever heard of diffuse solar radiation compared to direct solar radiation. When you will have read about it and possibly, just possibly understood, you might stop saying such ridiculous things.

    • Bob
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      @English Pensioner

      “all new houses should have such an arrangement”

      Yes, and also rain water collection.

    • Monty
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you EP, and I can vouch for the system. We have experimented with saved grey water on a small scale and it’s perfectly OK for flushing toilets, scrubbing floors, and washing cars would be another application except for the runoff going into the storm drains. But also, capturing the rainwater that lands on your roof is a great boon for the garden, the water quality is much better for your plants and lily pond, than tapwater. We have three rainbarrels, 70 litres each. You can get them at the discount stores.

    • Dennis
      Posted July 6, 2018 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      These solutions are just techno fixes to deal with gross overpopulation.

      I’m glad that my hobby horse on overpopulation is now rearing its head by many who now realise that is the problem.

  28. formula57
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    ” I remember urging the industry to collect enough of the large quantities of rainwater and snow melt…” – perhaps the industry will explain that it was the wrong type of snow?

    Cannot water companies be better led?

  29. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Off-topic, I’ve read some initial details of the “Facilitated Customs Arrangement” that the euromaniac unelected official Olly Robbins is trying to foist on Theresa May.


    And what strikes me is that the focus of this complicated and probably unworkable plan seems to be on the calculation and collection of import duties, which will be the least of the problems, while this precondition is a killer:

    “On regulations, it is understood that the UK would closely mirror the EU’s rules – but parliament would be able to decide where to deviate.”

    Oh, sure, I can see that happening; of course the EU is bound to accept that the UK will continue to mirror the EU’s rules, except when the UK decides not to do that – which of course in principle could be always – and on that legal basis the EU would throw open its Single Market to UK exports even when they did not conform to its rules.

    I have a feeling we have been here before, with government assurances that EEC laws would only apply to a small number of commercial transactions and Parliament would still retain the ultimate power to make our laws, etc etc.

    So here is my suggestion repeated: don’t promise that all goods produced in or imported into the UK will always conform to EU rules, instead promise that all goods exported to the EU will always conform to EU rules, with potentially very severe penalties for anybody who sends or takes across stuff which the EU regards as unacceptable.

    • Blahblah
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

      We did not vote to mirror anyone..we voted to leave..we did not vote to leave and then to rejoin in some other way? At this stage we just want out like we voted for..no need for white papers

    • Alan jutson
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Your last paragraph sums it up exactly
      Why hamper those who do not export with EU standards

      • Dennis
        Posted July 6, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

        What, more Dennis that’s not me? No wonder very few understand what was written on the side of that bus.

    • Hope
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      Dennis, read Guido it is far worse than you portray, there will be consequences for deviating from the EU rule book. Shockingly we read May showed Merkel her plan before cabinet! If this is correct she should be ousted and hung out to dry for this act alone. How this Traitor to electoral democracy stands at the dispatch box is beyond me.

      I think it is becoming all clear that May was colluding with remainers and EU to squeeze out leavers hope of leaving the EU by parliamentary vote. When I and others raised alarm bells at the first lost vote to Grieve, JR made it sound if it was trivial. This was the corner stone of forcing through remaining in the EU by another name. They wanted to exclude no deal, May made that point in her Mansion House capitualtion as she did not resorting to WTO terms.

      Time for JR and others to realise country before party. Corbyn will not get in.

      Why aren’t Labour ministers in cabinet it was a close election? Why not follow Corbyn’s rules? Why not a rerun? The same for local elections if you do not like the result have another vote.

    • acorn
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      Denis, I am not allowed to reply to your posts. Brexiteer MPs are running scared now. Prepare to be abandoned by your Brexit MP Gods.

    • forthurst
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

      It’s up the UK suppliers to conform to EU Single Market rules for their export produce and for the importers to agree; we do not need any more inspectors with a licence to meddle.

      Mrs May believes that if goods are imported into the UK for onward shipment to the EU, then the importer should pay the EU import duty not the UK import duty and pass the cash onto the EU. If a rag trade operator imports goods into the UK with the intention of sending a proportion of the consignment to their EU-based retail outfits, at the time of the importation they may not know how many of the goods will be re-exported; if they decide to export a proportion of those goods having stored them in a UK warehouse, what will be the transfer price of those goods: the price on which duty was paid or the price with the added cost of storing and re-transporting the goods abroad?

  30. Bob Dixon
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    There have been big changes since privatisation. My suspicion is that the managers have sold or reorganised the original water companies for their own ends.

  31. Rien Huizer
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Strangely, tapwater is one of those (few) products where government (or state) owned monopolies can be very effective and the private sector would struggle to compete with the legal (confiscating land, rights of way, etc) and financial (the state has by definition the lowest borrowing cost: the risk free rate) power of the State. It is not a business where proprietary technologies play a key role and the suppliers of equipment and engineering services would work happily for the state as well as companies like Vivendi. Water is an example of bad privatization leading to scarcity where none should exist due to the fact that private companies are at a structural competitive disadvantage to the State. Of course the State should be subject to discipline (not only Parliament but also independent judges of performance) but solving the UK’s water problems in a broad sense is a task for which single private firms are ill equipped. Plenty of activities that can be contracted out, but the main investment decisions have to be based on the public interest, not shareholders’. Why privatise water and not health care? A mystery.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 5, 2018 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      We didn’t have much problem with water supply 20 years ago. Where government policy is to introduce 10s of millions of new people to the country the government should be leading on infrastructure.

      Instead we get lots of orders from Westminster to build on green belt using the same pipe work and the same reservoir capacity.

      Dog whistle “we’ll build more houses for you kids” with no thought to infrastructure.

      People have noticed these falls in the quality of life and have lashed out at the EU.

  32. Nig l
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    And talking about Utilities, I see that despite Mays virtue signalling on reducing energy prices, a major company is putting theirs up again.

    Please tell her that King Canute failed.

  33. bigneil
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    ” in parts of the country like the south east the population is growing quickly, which means the need for more piped water. ” . . Understatement of the year award John, and as the population growth mainly won’t be contributing, once again the cost will be took from the working taxpayer.
    PLUS . . . all those extra people needing it, will be passing it out at the other end. Sewage system overload, Refuse system overload, NHS overload, Road system overload, All will use electricity, which won’t be there on a WINDLESS day.

  34. M.W.Browne
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    We need fewer people.
    Germany (Bavaria) is deporting failed asylum seekers, so why can’t we ?

    No to a national water grid. We don’t want out rivers in North West England draing to help London. Try asking Scotland for some water.

  35. bigneil
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Some of the bottled water companies were found to be just filling their bottles from the normal supply, then charging inflated prices. As a “business” would they get priority to continue taking it if there were cutbacks to normal supplies. I couldn’t see the govt stopping them because they get taxes from every bottle sold.

  36. KZB
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    Most of the time the north-west could easily sell water to the South-east. If it were a true market, we up here should have free water services, because we could make so much selling it to the south. Funny it does not work like that…

  37. Roy Grainger
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Cancelling H2S and spending the money on starting to build a national water grid (which we don’t have) would be a good idea.

  38. Remoaner
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Brexit caused the poisoning

  39. Swedishchef
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Good thing you told the industry to save the water for summer, they wouldn’t have otherwise😂…Anyway you’re an island surrounded by water so what’s the problem? 😀Honestly you write some amazing drivel, keep it up, so fun.

    Is tbere a blog for the real John Redwood or just this joke account? Just want to know…

  40. Stred
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    And this afternoon the BBC is putting out the fear of shopkeepers that food from the EU will be rotting in lorries while the British customs will be refusing entry. Mind you a third of our food missing would be wonderful news for the NHS. What better diet could be found for the obese.

  41. Andy
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    I bet Jaguar Land Rover uses a lot of water in its manufacturing processes. No doubt so do Airbus, Honda and BMW as well.

    Seeing that they’ll all be moving large parts of their production out of the country soon, I bet Brexit will end up being great news for our water supply.

    Who knew?

    See, Brexiteers – there you go. I’ve found a positive in your plan! (Obviously I use the term plan loosely seeing that, after two years, you still don’t actually have one).

    • Edward2
      Posted July 6, 2018 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      Similar water problems in the EU.
      The EU have a policy of restricting building up water capacity by not allowing the building new of reservoirs.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 6, 2018 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      A few thousand jobs on condition that we must take in millions of the EU’s poor.

      We are subsidising those firms if this policy determines that we are allowed to have them here.

  42. Chris
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    PS to my above comment on the attitude of the water company: they only agreed to wait for advice to us from the MP after us firstly accepting water meter installation, and then us making numerous phone calls/emails. It was a battle over some weeks, and certainly the heavy handed, dogmatic approach, swiftly enacted was not the proscribed/recommended code of behaviour for water companies.

  43. Bob
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Is it true that Mrs May briefed Frau Merkel about the Brexit White Paper before her own Cabinet?

  44. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Funny how the government seems to have nothing to say about the anti-Brexit nonsense that Jaguar Land Rover has set circulating in the media – just like the rest of the anti-Brexit propaganda that has been set circulating in the media over the years, before and after the referendum – but it woke up and came out almost instantly to deny that Theresa May’s new and exceptionally cunning customs plan would interfere with UK making new trade deals with countries around the world. As I say, it’s funny, complete failure to defend its official policy but quick action to defend a plan that undermines its official policy …

  45. DUNCAN
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Theresa May showed Angela Merkel her customs plan before she showed her own Cabinet, it has emerged this afternoon:

    Cabinet now have Theresa May’s customs proposal, paper arrived with them at 2pm. But a fair bit of grumbling about how long ministers have been kept in the dark on it and how Angela Merkel was briefed on it before they received the paper

    — James Forsyth (@JGForsyth) July 5, 2018

    The Cabinet are livid about this – why have Number 10 kept them in the dark while briefing the media and the German government? Who was told first, Dexeu or the Germans? First question for a reporter to ask May during her Berlin trip…

    And this is how a Tory PM treats its supporters, with total contempt. A nation and a PM on its knees pandering to the whims of the EU and the Germans

    Well done John, your choice of Tory party leader as been a catastrophe and will see our country relegated to the position of a mere vassal and slave state

    Unbelievable naivety. May is an appalling excuse for a decent and honest politician

  46. margaret
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Really I haven’t the patience to expand on my comment a few months ago that it doesn’t need highly qualified scientist to build a reservoir.

    • Puffer Fish
      Posted July 7, 2018 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

      It depends on the size of it. For anything sizeable one has to know the geology underneath to be sure of an impermeable layer, with a dip in the orography so as to minimize the size of the front dam. Plus one or more rivers to feed it, and a safe exit for water in case the reservoir gets too full. May be not a highly qualified scientist but certainly some rather good engineers.

      • margaret
        Posted July 9, 2018 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        quite .People who have done it before and still do.

  47. Derek
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

    Should you not be advising Michael Gove? We are mere plebs where he is in the driving seat. IF our Prime Minister can bother to see where he and the country are going.

  48. Helen Smith
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    We have been forced to have a water meter, which of course is just water rationing by price. Thousands upon thousands of new houses going up around me and not a single extra reservoir built. So the water companies collect, cleanse and distribute the same volume of water to many more people, nice little earner!

    • Puffer Fish
      Posted July 7, 2018 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

      Is this true? When I had a water meter installed for a house with five members, the invoices with Thames Water went from around £600/year down to £400/year, without us actually reducing the showers, baths , … or watering the garden.

  49. Alison
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    v sorry, you are v busy BUT: On Monday I bet the Electoral Commission will declare the referendum void because of claim of cheating by Leave. Then Mrs May will request withdrawal of Art 50 letter.

  50. APL
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    JR: “I am disappointed but not surprised that a few warm days without rain and the water industry is already saying we need to be careful about use.”

    On the other hand, I am not disappointed and not surprised to hear a politician – who has sat on his hands for the last …. it must be thirty years, while the administration he supported, and the other administration he ostensibly opposed, opened the flood gates to unlimited immigration – which by the way are still wide open.

    But then when the services that were built with a given population in mind cannot cope with a population twenty five percent higher than was planned for, when the British government had a few sane individuals among its ranks.

    But the minor strain the water supply companies now come under, because of a few find sunny days, is the fault of the Water companies, rather than the Politicians who have artificially inflated the population of the UK.

  51. Iain Gill
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    May must go

  52. Dontknowsquat
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    Yes lets! But unfortunately I am not in government or sitting in the HoC..policy change to have a good water supply will have to be initiated by politicians

  53. Freeborn John
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Are Phillip Hammond and Anna Soubry wasting their time talking about water supplies this week? While they focus on undermining Brexit you indulge yourself. May need some to be stopped and it won’t be done by distracted part time occasional consideration of her cosmetic Brexit.

  54. Mick
    Posted July 5, 2018 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    Off topic again
    Just been watching QT on bias bbc and poor old priti Patel being outnumbered 5-1 including dimbeleby and the audience , it’s about time the 17.4 million made there voices heard because go against the people and democracy is dead and so is our country , and as far as another referendum on a people vote what a load of tosh , the unions, Eu , remoaners, certain industry’s , labour, lib/dems, will try every trick in the book to keep us in the dreaded Eu, then there would be problems not seen since the 15th centuries

  55. Dennis
    Posted July 6, 2018 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    When those who post most questions to JR which he doesn’t respond to, why doesn’t he have a template to use in reply which says ‘I have no idea’ ?

  56. Ron Olden
    Posted July 8, 2018 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    I’d be interested to hear where in the South East the locals are going to volunteer their environments to build all these reservoirs.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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