Thursday, April 19, 2007

What water shortage?

I live in the driest county in England, Cambridgeshire. It has a rapidly growing population, currently around 750,000, and projected to increase by another 100,000 over the next ten years. My, that’s a lot of baths, showers, washing machines and car washes. We are constantly being implored to save water, and water saving features form an important part of the Code for Sustainable Homes, which will in time become part of the building regulations. Reducing water consumption is seen as an essential part of being green.

But here’s an interesting fact, a perspective maker. We are currently capturing just 3% of the rainfall that falls onto our county. OK, a lot of it evaporates and a lot gets channelled into the rivers. But even so, there is one hell of a lot of untapped potential out there. And it’s not as though we are taking this water out of circulation: every drop we use gets returned sooner or later.

We are not short of water in this country. Merely short of the wherewithal to create infrastructure to use it. How come if the Victorians could manage it, we can’t?


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