Are we approaching drought conditions?

Cyres

Well-Known Member
I was out last night on a bit of ground which I shoot infrequently and was taken aback by the state of the ground. It was rock hard, badly cracked with all the grass burnt off and even the Docks were dead.

In my part of S Glos we have not had any appreciable rain since May 26th when we had 26 mm in about 1 hour. Since then virtually none. The maize looks terrible and very retarded and the ground post second cut has just burnt off. Barley has been cut, the wheat is looking dead so I expect yields will be down. Farmers are feeding silage and hay. One of my local streams has virtually no flow.

As for wildlife nothing seems to be moving until well after dusk and I have not seen a badger for many a week. In some places there has been localized rain and I hear that at RHS Rosemore in N Devon they have just recorded their driest ever month. In June only 5.6 mm of rain.

The forecast looks hot and dry until the end of the month and if so I expect we will be seeing UK wide water shortages by August. I am old enough to remember 1976 and its starting to look like that already.


D
 

deerstalker.308

Well-Known Member
They said on the news it was the driest June in 70 years apparently. East Anglia is dry as a bone, I'm amazed we haven't had a hosepipe ban yet, all the farms are running low on water and most likely run out for things like potatoes.....
Lots of forest fires on a daily basis along with stubble fields and crops alike.
 

Woodsmoke

Well-Known Member
Hosepipe ban in NE England, apparently. Rivers are all running very low, and most reservoirs are approaching 50% capacity. Here in Angus we've not been too bad as we've had a couple of days drizzle and mist. For the first time in 15 years though, my grass has stopped growing due to the heat, and is looking a bit scorched. We must still have plenty of sub-surface water though, as the crops all seem to be doing fine in this area
 

reiver

Well-Known Member
No threat of a hose pipe ban here in north east cumbria with us as our water stays in the district
and not sent down sooth to the manks .
we have just had our first rains here for over 9 weeks and things are starting to green up
again at long last .
just as wel as I am getting bored watering my lawn with the hose every day:D
reiver
 

Pedro

Well-Known Member
Okay. In the "rainy season" we get too much rain, rivers burst their banks, flood houses, towns, villages, trains stop, electricity goes off and there's much wailing and gnashing of teeth as small businesses suffer. The services just can't cope. In the summer, all that water goes away. The fields turn to concrete and crops are withering away. Again, the services just can't cope.

Am I alone in believing that there are other countries that deal with these conditions as a matter of course? Why can't ours?
 

tozzybum

Well-Known Member
Something called profit and loss their profit our loss.When you make millions in profit do you A spend it on replacing 150 year old pipe systems that have more leaks than the dinner ladies goverment or B take it as shareholders dividend and stick two fingers up to your customers .I,m guessing B is the answer in boardrooms up n down the country .After all it always rains doesnt it so whats a little seepage amongst friends
 

mchughcb

Well-Known Member
Okay. In the "rainy season" we get too much rain, rivers burst their banks, flood houses, towns, villages, trains stop, electricity goes off and there's much wailing and gnashing of teeth as small businesses suffer. The services just can't cope. In the summer, all that water goes away. The fields turn to concrete and crops are withering away. Again, the services just can't cope.

Am I alone in believing that there are other countries that deal with these conditions as a matter of course? Why can't ours?

No water no life.
 

User00025

Well-Known Member
Something called profit and loss their profit our loss.When you make millions in profit do you A spend it on replacing 150 year old pipe systems that have more leaks than the dinner ladies goverment or B take it as shareholders dividend and stick two fingers up to your customers .I,m guessing B is the answer in boardrooms up n down the country .After all it always rains doesnt it so whats a little seepage amongst friends
+1 It never ceases to amaze me how many local authorities installed reservoirs and pipelines at the cost of their ratepayers to provide water to homes etc. Suddenly all this was taken over (virtually free) by Water Authorities who now by and large seem to be owned by foreign interests. All this was achieved by tempting the general public to be greedy and buy shares so completing the full circle.
 

Laurie

Well-Known Member
+1 It never ceases to amaze me how many local authorities installed reservoirs and pipelines at the cost of their ratepayers to provide water to homes etc. Suddenly all this was taken over (virtually free) by Water Authorities who now by and large seem to be owned by foreign interests. All this was achieved by tempting the general public to be greedy and buy shares so completing the full circle.

There were two drivers in the great Thatcherite privatisation sell-offs: 1) short-term financial gains through trade or public share sales; 2) removing the capital investment burden from the public sector and pushing it onto the 'City' through the new private owners, this hopefully financed through increased operating efficiency and inter-supplier competition but if necessary though prices rises. To protect the in effect captive customers of water companies and to a lesser extent gas and electricity utilities, you had (still have) regulators with statutory powers that set target and can allow price rises to pay for improvements, or impose price caps to force improvements.

Water was a license to print money for a while but no more - the returns on capital employed that the regulator allows are very low (as befits a dead safe industry with a captive market) and OFWAT has imposed major incentives / punishments for achieving or failing to achieve company-specific targets.

By the 1980s, Britain had been living off the back of massive Victorian era capital infrastructure investment for many decades investing little under public ownership with a few exceptions such as trunk roads and motorways. But now the piper needed paying and badly - and there was simply no way the Treasury was going to fund it! Hence, privatisation - Win-Win to Treasury mandarins. Cash in the bank now and somebody else raises the billions (literally) needed for urgent upgrades. And in that sense, it has worked - as any road trip in a typical English town has shown in recent years with roads dug up and closed for weeks at a time as utilities are replaced - gas, water and sewage pipes, electricity and communications cabling. The amount of money spent on water alone over the last 20 or 25 years is staggering - and it's still not enough.

Whether it's a better system than state ownership or a hybrid form? One point that stands out a mile though is that any belief that the state (ie Treasury) would have funded even a quarter of the needed capital investment in water and sewage is a complete pipedream.
 

mchughcb

Well-Known Member
Okay. In the "rainy season" we get too much rain, rivers burst their banks, flood houses, towns, villages, trains stop, electricity goes off and there's much wailing and gnashing of teeth as small businesses suffer. The services just can't cope. In the summer, all that water goes away. The fields turn to concrete and crops are withering away. Again, the services just can't cope.

Am I alone in believing that there are other countries that deal with these conditions as a matter of course? Why can't ours?

Britain by any stretch of the imagination has some of the mildest weather in the developed world. You don't experience-20 below winters or 40 plus summers , or cyclones every year. To put the infrastructure in for 1:1000 year events isnt worth it capital wise.
 

tarponhead

Well-Known Member
There were two drivers in the great Thatcherite privatisation sell-offs: 1) short-term financial gains through trade or public share sales; 2) removing the capital investment burden from the public sector and pushing it onto the 'City' through the new private owners, this hopefully financed through increased operating efficiency and inter-supplier competition but if necessary though prices rises. To protect the in effect captive customers of water companies and to a lesser extent gas and electricity utilities, you had (still have) regulators with statutory powers that set target and can allow price rises to pay for improvements, or impose price caps to force improvements.

Water was a license to print money for a while but no more - the returns on capital employed that the regulator allows are very low (as befits a dead safe industry with a captive market) and OFWAT has imposed major incentives / punishments for achieving or failing to achieve company-specific targets.

By the 1980s, Britain had been living off the back of massive Victorian era capital infrastructure investment for many decades investing little under public ownership with a few exceptions such as trunk roads and motorways. But now the piper needed paying and badly - and there was simply no way the Treasury was going to fund it! Hence, privatisation - Win-Win to Treasury mandarins. Cash in the bank now and somebody else raises the billions (literally) needed for urgent upgrades. And in that sense, it has worked - as any road trip in a typical English town has shown in recent years with roads dug up and closed for weeks at a time as utilities are replaced - gas, water and sewage pipes, electricity and communications cabling. The amount of money spent on water alone over the last 20 or 25 years is staggering - and it's still not enough.

Whether it's a better system than state ownership or a hybrid form? One point that stands out a mile though is that any belief that the state (ie Treasury) would have funded even a quarter of the needed capital investment in water and sewage is a complete pipedream.

Agreed.

We have had £90B+ investment in the water infrastructure, much of which we might not have had if the current State had to fund it.

The amount of water we waste is phenomenal and we are one of the few countries that flushes loo's with potable (drinking) water. We actually have enough water but it's just in the wrong place, so more strategic planning and investment needed to enable more water movement. Spare a thought for the good folk at the sharp end of the water industry who get precious little thanks for keeping the water good to drink and always on - you will struggle to find a more dedicated bunch. It actually costs £3 for every £2 of revenue from customers so its a strange business to invest in.

I'd rather have clean water, good flood defenses, sufficient water resilience and a world class conventional military road, rail, health and data infrastructure than a Trident replacement and some of the vanity projects that successive Governments lavish spending on. That's our choice - vote a Government in that will do those things, if we care enough about it. Meanwhile, we can do our bit by using the water we have carefully and treat it like the valuable and finite commodity it is.
 

Laurie

Well-Known Member
"We actually have enough water but it's just in the wrong place, so more strategic planning and investment needed to enable more water movement." [Tarponhead]

We in North Yorks are lucky in that there was the huge investment in the Northumberland Kielder Reservoir a generation ago that was connected up to the Tyne and Wear systems to feed what turned out to be non-existent growth in Teesside's heavy industries. After a great drought some years back that saw Yorkshire Water become the then public hate-object with standpipe and water tanker supply in many West Yorks towns (equivalent to Northern Rail and Govia Thameslink Railways right now), relatively short inter-river system pipelines and pumps into the Yorkshire river systems were installed, so in theory you could be getting water from your tap in York that had come down a Borders burn into Kelder a few days ago. The environmentalists don't like it as they say it affects both chemical and wildlife balances in the recipient rivers ........ but there you are, there's always someone unhappy with any project these days!

This is a pretty rare opportunity though and the problem with water grids is that water is heavy and unless you can use gravity throughout, pumping costs are very high, also energy intensive and hence polluting.
 

Pedro

Well-Known Member
Britain by any stretch of the imagination has some of the mildest weather in the developed world. You don't experience-20 below winters or 40 plus summers , or cyclones every year. To put the infrastructure in for 1:1000 year events isnt worth it capital wise.

mchughcb, you are right. The temperate climate here should result in few problems providing water and we should be pretty effective at controlling potential floods. But things aren't working out like that. I live in Cumbria (northern England - the Lake District). We are just about to start a hosepipe ban (up to £2k fine if you use one and get caught) due to a water shortage after a dry spell. Yet mere months earlier, it was entirely possible to sail up the main streets of many of our towns! Mismanaging assets? These events were perhaps hundreds of years apart (not possibly 1,000 years, but certainly once in a lifetime) but they are now occurring more frequently and I despair of the authorities not being able to get a grip. Despite our changing weather, we are so much better off for resources such as water compared to so many places, yet we cannot manage it at all well.
 

User00025

Well-Known Member
Well that seems to have stirred up some "Water Emplyees" to say how bad everything was years ago.
Now just take an example which was probably all carried out prior to Laurie and Tarponhead's existence on this planet.
The City of Birmingham built dams and constructed pipelines from Wales to the city, installed holding reservoirs, treatment etc, all funded by the city's ratepayers. This was given free gratis to one of the new water outfits along with the sewage system, which was also installed modernised and run by the city.
When something comes free and you also raise finance by selling shares, you have got to be avin a larf if you try to tell me how much the water companies have done and spent on the system. Oh and by the way the Welsh/Brummie water was renowned for it's purity and taste once, I tried a glass last week, it tasted like distilled p... . Another point, at one time I constructed many water and sewage systems so know a little bit about the game.
One project I worked on had a manual system of final water control and was designed that way. The new water owners changed that and on one occasion poison coming down the river got into the City's water system. Had it been a worse substance than it was, instead of sickness etc there would have been thousands dead. So much for the Private control of our natural resources, particularly when in foreign hands.
 

Chasser

Well-Known Member
The project I have just finished working on is Wessex Waters Grid, including optimiser software, allows water to be automatically shifted around the region based on, resource availability and cost effectiveness through triad avoidance. Also allows us to blend higher nitrate water with low nitrate water.
Most of the technology used is industry leading. Combined with the existing profiler which predicts demand on reservoirs based on historic data.
Water quality margins are getting tighter so water is the safest it has ever been in the country with automated monitoring 24/7 no human error which is scary how often it used to happen with manual systems.
Also the regulator is driving costs down and investment in infrastructure up.
We are lucky to have a lot of boreholes in our region, filtered by chalk bands... not them muddy puddles all over the country!
 

Apthorpe

Well-Known Member
Well that seems to have stirred up some "Water Emplyees" to say how bad everything was years ago.
Now just take an example which was probably all carried out prior to Laurie and Tarponhead's existence on this planet.
The City of Birmingham built dams and constructed pipelines from Wales to the city, installed holding reservoirs, treatment etc, all funded by the city's ratepayers. This was given free gratis to one of the new water outfits along with the sewage system, which was also installed modernised and run by the city.
When something comes free and you also raise finance by selling shares, you have got to be avin a larf if you try to tell me how much the water companies have done and spent on the system. Oh and by the way the Welsh/Brummie water was renowned for it's purity and taste once, I tried a glass last week, it tasted like distilled p... . Another point, at one time I constructed many water and sewage systems so know a little bit about the game.
One project I worked on had a manual system of final water control and was designed that way. The new water owners changed that and on one occasion poison coming down the river got into the City's water system. Had it been a worse substance than it was, instead of sickness etc there would have been thousands dead. So much for the Private control of our natural resources, particularly when in foreign hands.

Are you sure that's right? Is it not actually the case that Birmingham's water system (like the others) was nationalised, taken under state control, and reorganised into one of the ten regional water authorities by the Water Act 1973? I'm pretty sure privatisation wasn't the cause of removing water from councils' control.
The water probably does taste worse....as a result of being more heavily treated. The extra 15 million of population since the time you're referring to likely also means we dont all get to drink mountain or borehole water any more.
Finally, a belief that manual control of systems is more reliable than automated control is really quite Luddite.
 

tarponhead

Well-Known Member
Welsh/Brummie water was renowned for it's purity and taste once, I tried a glass last week, it tasted like distilled p...

You are dead right there. I remember the lovely tasting tap water from the Elan Valley in Brum when I was a kid but now. It's very different. Same in Cornwall. Maybe a change in water quality requirements.
 
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