There was an article on the BBC's 'Breakfast' telly programme this morning about 'the drought' in the South East of England. Some reporter was standing in a dried up bed of the River Lavant and lecturing us tap turners on the need to conserve the wet stuff.
The reporter just went on and on about us wasters of water, the need to get filthy – and stay that way for the sake of conserving what little water there is…. But what about ‘the big guy’? What about Prescott and his ‘plan’ for turbo-house building in the area?
Of course, being the BBC they never said a word about how the hell Prescott's 'sustainable housing plan' to build another million houses in the south east was going to be serviced by the water companies - when they can't even meet the needs of the people currently living there. So Prescott’s ‘plan’ isn’t a plan at all – and it isn’t sustainable is it?
Will it stop him? Will he reconsider? Will he talk to water people?
Of course not! Being a brainless, publicity seeking moron, Prescott hasn't even considered talking to the water companies to see if they can actually supply the new homes with mains water. As far as Prescott’s concerned, there is no ‘f’ in ‘failure’ (But we know differently, don’t we?)
Of course, being private companies, sold off during the Thatcher era, the water companies have as their first priority an obligation to their shareholders to make profits - then comes the consumer. A poor third is the environment.
Every year, for the past 5 years, the water companies have gone to the Government, tap in hand to request they take ever more water from the river network of the South East. It’s a sort of ‘skim-off’ from a national resource. (No change there, then). Every year, without fail that request has been granted. More and more water is being pumped from the system. First rivers to suffer are the chalk streams – they, as in the case of the River Lavant completely dry up and what was in there is consigned to the great reservoir in the sky. The rest barely operate as ecosystems at all. Low water equals low oxygen, less dilution of fertilisers leeching into the system from surrounding farmland means poisonous blooms of green weed flourish.
The reason the water companies do this is because it’s a cheap, short-term fix. No capital build of reservoirs, no costly renewal of a leaky colander like pipe system……
There is actually talk of desalination plants being built along the south coast. No doubt, as taxpayers we’ll be picking the tab up for those then. No doubt, the great pie himself will herald the building of these structures as a ‘sustainable’ answer to water shortage. No doubt water charges will go through the roof as water becomes as rare as a politician with a knowledge of the meaning of the word ‘SUSTAINABLE’….