The Hosepipe Ban and British Rain

At times like these – when a hosepipe ban is introduced – it’s typical to roll our eyes and wonder how such a rain-soaked country can find itself short of water. But it’s actually a myth that the whole of Britain is permanently soaked. The north and much of the west are fairly wet, but the south and east of England have much less rainfall.

Believe it or not, London receives less rainfall per year than Paris, Istanbul and Rome. When you then consider that London has a population of almost 8 million, to Paris and Rome’s less than 3 million, you can start to see the scale of the problem. Then add the millions of people in areas surrounding London to make things even worse. In short, the south east of England has too many people in it for the amount of rain received.

A further problem is the way the English use their water. An average English person uses 148 litres per day compared to the European average of 130 litres. Then there’s the fact we hate the idea of water meters.

It’s arguable that water supplies from the wetter north could be brought south via pipelines, but the energy and money required to do this make it very difficult to carry out. Then there are the politics and business issues involved in making private water companies work together.

A much more radical idea is to move large numbers of the population further north. Sound ridiculous? The government and major organisations such as the BBC have been attempting do this for a few years by moving large chunks of their operations further north. This allows them to cut down on the costs associated with running buildings in London. Inevitably it moves their staff north also.

So perhaps a longer-term way of looking at this and the associated population problem is not to move water south, but move people north away from the vastly over-populated south-east.

Any comments or questions can be added in the comments section below.

5 Comments on The Hosepipe Ban and British Rain

  1. Give me a break…. we are surrounded by water. I remember boiling the water to remove the salt when I was in year 5, so it can’t be hard for people in the water industry to do similar.

    What a waste of time this website is

    • jhjhyouareamuppet // March 21, 2012 at 9:04 pm // Reply

      you are a muppet it would take so much energy to do that on an industrial scale.

    • jhjh
      Surely boiling water will evaporate the water thus making the reat more concentrated. Perhaps as a child – you condensed the salt ater and collected the condensation which would be pure water . But at 5 I suspect your memory is not quite accurate

  2. Using our surrounding seawater is a perfectly sensible alternative and is already happening now, Thames water, for instance, provides enough desalinated water for about a million londoners:

    http://www.water-technology.net/projects/water-desalination/

    Some countries, e.g. in the gulf, are also surrounded by water but they have no choice but to use desalination or nobody could live there. If we’re that dry, or heading in that direction, perhaps this is indeed the future for us.

    Desalinization aside, I personally get very angry when I see so much leaking infrastructure.

  3. Arguing about how much water there is doesn’t really get us anywhere. If the experts say it’s too costly or not possible then let’s not be dumb, let’s think about the problem. People go where jobs are and jobs are created where people are.

    Jobs = people; people = money spent; money spent = jobs; jobs = people; people use water. SO Jobs somewhere else = people somewhere else; people somewhere else = money spent somewhere else; money spent somewhere else = jobs somewhere else.

    I was disgusted to learn how much raw sewage is pumped into the Thames. It’s horrible. London is the City it is (and by proximity, much of the rest of the South East of England) because it was built on a river like most other major Cities in the world.

    I’m from the North of England and currently live in Edinburgh. I refuse to move to London for work despite the fact that huge numbers of my friends have. It can’t go on!!!

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