Wednesday, 16 August 2006

Water, water everywhere, even in a drought

The heat wave in Britain is bringing to the forefront, again, the issue of water supplies. I have never understood the supposed benefits of privatising Britain's water supply. One of the theoretical arguments in favour of privatisation was that it encouraged competition, and kept prices down. Call me stupid, but I fail to see how that occurs in an industry which has monopolies, and which pays out huge profits to investors instead of ploughing it all back in to its infrastructure. I have absolutely no choice in who I buy my water from. And I can see no earthly reason for conserving it when the profit-motivated company urges me to use less. Why should I not use it to water my garden? If they have not improved the infrastructure and prevented the millions of gallons/litres leaking away, why should my garden suffer? We are made to feel selfish if we do not conserve water, but the only people who will really suffer will be the shareholders, if the water supplies run out, and the companies fail to supply their customers. Unlike petrol or gas, water is a renewable resource, so there is no need for us to feel guilty or profligate if we use lots of it. Millions of gallons are used wastefully by industry, millions of gallons are polluted, so why should the individual feel guilty when watering their vegetable patch? Answers on a postcard., etc.


  1. Agreed. The RSPB, in a book sponsored by them (ie they took part of my royalties), would not allow me to recommned watering a patch of ground to bring worms to the surface for thrushes and provide mud for nest-building swallows and martins.
    But are you sure of your statement that "water is a renewable resource"? Have the water companies discovered a way of manufacturing water? Surely "recyclable" - every drop having been passed by the consumers several times. If so - up to a point, Lord Copper. What leaks out of the pipes, goes to soaking your garden or flushing my loo all comes back again. The problem, as you have drawn our attention to so often, is that there are too many of us. We need water to flush loos, wash bodies, cars, clothes and dishes, and grow plants on farms and gardens. The cycle can't keep up; hence low reservoirs and, sadly, dried up streams.

  2. I stand corrected and suitably admonished. Recyclable is probably more appropriate. It reminds me that it was said that the water drunk by Londoners must be OK - at least five people had drunk it before it reached them.