GMB calls for water ‘imports’

Posted: Monday 21st May 2012

There is no long term water shortage for the UK as a whole since only a small fraction of run-off is diverted for supply so as ample resources are available let this be the last time we have hosepipe bans in the South East and East says GMB.

GMB, water workers union, commented on the hosepipe ban at seven companies: Thames Water, Southern Water, South East Water, Anglian Water, Sutton and East Surrey, Veolia Central and Veolia South East. These bans affect about 20 million people

Gary Smith GMB National Secretary for the Water Industry said “It cannot be over-emphasised that there need be no question of long term water shortage for the UK as a whole since only a small fraction of run-off is diverted for supply. So there is no question that ample resources are available. Let this be the last time we have hosepipe ban in the South East and East England.

Storage and transfer are two of the main elements of water resource management: one to move water from times of plenty to times of shortage; the other to convey water from places where it is plentiful to areas where it is in short supply.

The South East and Eastern England need to import water. For South East this should be via a Seven-Thames link. GMB welcome Thames Water’s belated recognition of this for the South East. Eastern England needs to look at extending supply to Birmingham eastwards.

Virtually all the industrial towns of the North and the Midlands are dependent on aqueducts to transfer water from impounding reservoirs in the Pennines, Wales and the Lake District. Thus long distance transfer is not new in Britain although relatively unfamiliar in south-east England; and London is the exception among our major cities in relying mainly on local rivers for its supply.

Forty years ago about fifty potential storage developments were identified including new reservoirs, expansion of old reservoirs and more effective ways of managing existing reservoirs and aquifers. GMB would like to point to one such scheme to enlarge the Craig Goch reservoir in Plymlimmon mountain range in mid Wales and to move the water via the rivers Wye and Severn and to be pumped into the Thames to supply London and the South East. Selections of these fifty plans, sufficient to roughly double the national water supply, were assembled into ‘best buy’ programmes to form the basis of future plans. They have been ignored to our cost.”

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April 2021

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