Observer Comment: Demand on our water consumption will only increase

IN a wet country like ours a hosepipe ban is so hard to swallow especially for the millions of us who pay what can seem like exorbitant water rates.

It is even harder to swallow that, almost 40 years after the worst drought in this country’s history, no proper lessons appear to have been learned.

The drought of 1976 was a disaster for farming with £500 million worth of crops failing and food prices rocketing by 12 per cent.

Rivers ran dry and woodland was wiped out in devastating forest fires.

There were obvious lessons that needed to be learned.

One of them was creating a national grid that could transport water to drought affected areas.

With Scotland, the Lake District and north Wales being the wettest parts of the UK surely it made sense to build some kind of transportation system to bring the water down to parched places like the south east.

If oil engineers can build a 1,900 mile-long oil pipeline from Alberta in Canada to the Midwest states of America, surely a pipe can be inserted a few hundred miles in the UK.

With global warming and the UK population set to hit 70 million by 2029, the demand on our water consumption will only increase.

The only other option could be building desalination units.

Desalinating 1,000 US gallons of water can cost as little as $3, the same amount of bottled water costs $7,945.

The initial set up costs would be far outweighed by the cheap cost of turning seawater into drinking water.

Leakages and water pollution can only increase the pressures on our water companies to get it right.

If we don’t use our hosepipes will we be able to pay less? Not everyone has a water meter yet.

But one thing’s for sure, our favourite topic of conversation is going to get a lot more heated this summer.


THE MODERN school uniform has always been a bone of contention.

The cost of sending our children to school these days seems to be getting higher and higher.

Some parents may struggle to afford the sweaters, trousers and shoes that schools demand.

Teenagers grow at a rapid rate of knots and go through several sets of uniform in one year alone.

If some families struggle with the cost of buying items of clothing then there are hardship funds available and many schools will help provide uniform.

Headteacher John Court quite rightly points out that “black plimsolls are not black shoes.”

The school has even offered to supply black shoes.

Pupils cannot walk around science labs or motor vehicle engineering classrooms wearing plimsolls. They are just not sensible footwear.

One can understand the pressures that parents are under to allow their children to go to school in the latest designer clothing.

But standards are essential and Britain has always prided itself on its well-dressed, well-presented and uniform looking schoolchildren. It sets a precedent for the rest of their lives.