On this day a year ago
Drought, and water supply
Where is the strategic direction from government? It is hard to think of a more basic function of government in the modern era than the supply of plentiful and clean water. Of all necessities, water supply is the most basic.
Measures that should be taken in the UK (southern England, really) include water-retention projects in upland areas, new dams and reservoirs, and construction of desalination plants for emergency use (Israel has some of the best technology for that; worth looking at).
Other measures would include those to minimize leaks. London may be losing a quarter of the water available and piped by reason of leaks.
Also, the UK population has increased by many millions in the past half-century. Stop importing unwanted people.
Cape Town nearly ran out of water 2015-2018, partly by reason of low rainfall, but also because (quelle surprise) African government has proven incapable of planning ahead: see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_Town_water_crisis.
Cape Town was saved partly by severe restrictions on use, but mainly because the rains started to arrive again from 2018. Los Angeles was in difficulties too over the past decade, but again was saved mainly by renewed rainfall.
In principle, I think that water, at least for domestic users, should be free or very inexpensive, but the reality is that there is a cost attached to the storage and supply of water (and also to the disposal of waste water). There is a debate to be had as to how to manage those costs.
In Ireland, until fairly recently, water was supplied free of charge to domestic users, and the cost covered out of taxation, mainly rates (taxation) on domestic and commercial property: see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_supply_and_sanitation_in_the_Republic_of_Ireland#Tariffs.
Factors: abundant surface water, and a relatively small population, which until recent decades was mostly poor. Incidentally, it was not so long ago that most of the Irish population did not pay income tax.
I oppose meters for water, and I oppose the profiteering by the present privatized water companies in the UK. There should be a national water authority and, if water is to be charged for at all, a set amount —the same amount— paid for water (either per person or per household) over a determined period.
Water pressure can be reduced to save water in times of drought, though that is easier in some countries than in others. I recall a friend in New Jersey telling me in about 1991 that he had seen a special episode of This Old House [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_Old_House] from London, which included the information that water pressure was 18 pounds per square inch.
My friend said that “to us, that’s a trickle!“. I think that water pressure in the NY/NJ region is nearer to 80 pounds per square inch, so 4x higher than in London, thinking back to that conversation.
Incidentally, water pressure in the UK is now expressed in “bars”, a metric measurement: see https://www.plumbnation.co.uk/blog/the-complete-guide-to-water-pressure/.
Large-scale users of water are commercial enterprises, including farms. These may have to be squeezed further on cost.
Notes: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desalination; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_supply_and_sanitation_in_Israel; https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/aug/06/britain-drought-measures-hosepipe-bans-beavers-warer-butts.
Mostly right, though not mentioning the huge —and possibly irreparable— damage done to the UK economy by the ridiculous “panicdemic” measures of 2020-2022, particularly the “lockdown” shutdown(s).
How low has the UK sunk, that it could even contemplate having a Indian as its Prime Minister?
This is the sort of thing, or one type of thing, that happens when you mix up capitalist enterprise (economic zone or sphere) with the zone or sphere of social rights, politics etc. In the Threefold Social Order proposed by Rudolf Steiner, those zones or spheres (and the spiritual/cultural/etc zone or sphere) should not be confused. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_threefolding.
Bulb Energy was originally a mixture of economic enterprise and social do-gooding to do with “reducing emissions” and similar nonsense.
Other examples of “social entrepreneurship” have abounded in the Britain of the past 20 years. A swamp of fraud, chicanery and chaotic mismanagement. One of the worst types of the phenomenon has been the “social entrepreneur” company that presents itself as quasi-charitable but makes millions for its major shareholders out of public funds.
The maladministration and incompetence of Iain Dunce Duncan Smith at the DWP from 2010-2015 allowed dozens if not hundreds of such organizations to flourish. There were and maybe still are many examples, funded by not only the DWP but also other parts of government. I am not even sure that “Kids’ Company” was the worst: see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kids_Company.
Another one, the name of which escapes me for the moment, made millions for its controllers out of DWP funds; one of those ridiculous outsourcing companies finding “make-work” non-jobs for the unemployed and disabled.
The fat young woman who owned it with her husband (fortunately for them, their names also escape me right now) was on BBC Daily Politics and other TV shows between 2010-2015, talking about how good it all was. Only Andrew Neil was sharp enough to (obliquely) question the amount said woman was making (out of the taxpayers). She and her husband bought a large country house in Derbyshire before that particular house of cards collapsed. They made millions upon millions, were never prosecuted for what I consider an outright fraud, not to mention exploitation of desperate people, and still live in luxury today, I believe.
Solutions are several…