When Will The UK Run Out Of Water?

 In Environment

The chief executive of Affinity Water was interviewed. She opened her mouth and a load of dribble fell out. It rather mimicked her company’s broken pipes spewing our precious water whilst her shareholders mopped up ever more dividends. Her topic was serious though; when will the UK run out of water? A lot sooner is the answer, if Affinity has anything to do with it.

Changing the Industry

Pauline Walsh, this well paid chief executive, proposes to transform the water industry. Jeremy Corbyn wants to do the same, the re-nationalisation that she detests. But, she makes some good points. It seems neither we nor the manufacturers of white goods take account of water usage. That’s all about us ignorantly buying washing machines and dishwashers without knowing how much water they use. The interview ended, somewhat typically, with a demand that we turn off the tap when we clean our teeth. She ignores those people still building swimming pools. Can we really take these people seriously?

Water Limits

Affinity wants customers to reduce water consumption by nearly a quarter. That’s from 140 litres per person per day to 110. If you wash less and don’t flush the toilet after every pee, you can easily achieve that. The fact is, the white goods you use are just a part of the bigger picture. This assumes you don’t have a swimming pool. The conclusion is that her transformation relies on us, not Affinity, to effect the change. The fact is, whether water is private or public, we should all be given a water allowance and once we exceed that, every litre should be charged at a premium.

River Quality

When she talks of running out of water, I am not sure exactly what she means. Already, the water industry is abstracting so much water that streams and wells are critically reduced in flow. Rivers like the Avon and Stour are now much smaller than in the past. This means that the pollution from farm run-off and industry increases in concentration. It’s that concentration that destroys the rivers ecosystem, not actually running out of water. It also means that to drink the water, expensive filtration is required. My picture is of the officially ‘stressed’ River Avon near Fordingbridge.

When will the UK run out of water?

It’s hard to believe that the River Avon was the lifeblood of Zuri’s tribe in 2200 BC. There was an abundance of clean water and yet a mere 4000 years later we are in serious trouble. The question should not be when will the UK run out of water? It should be when will the rivers be dead and the water undrinkable?

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