Water De-salination Plant Inquiry

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The start of the Planning Inspectorate Public Inquiryy into a proposed £200 million water de-salination plant in Beckton, has kicked off with a press release war between the Mayor of London Ken Livingstone and Thames Water.

Neither side is entirely convincing - it must be insane to waste ever more expensive electricity on producing drinkable water, when, as Ken points out so much is wasted through leakage.

When Thames Water talk about the "cost effectiveness" of infrastructure investment decisions, they really mean "still leaving us with a fat profit". Where exactl;y do they get their estimates for population growth from ?

However Ken's vague handwaving plans and estimates do not add up either.

This is not suddenly a new problem and it is not just a London problem either, but one for the whole South and East of England.

It needs a Central Government national strategy and the investement in some national water grid pipelines from Wales and Scotland, where there is plenty of water. Plans for such a system have existed since the early 1970's, well before the dubiious privatisation of the water companies.

If the Romans could build long gravity fed aqueducts over 2000 years ago, today's civil engineers can certainly build a national water grid.
There are many irrigation schemes around the world which cover much larger distances than any required in this small country.

5 Comments

More clean water would seem to be pro-environmental; however, Thames Water should accept more blame for the leaks and stop blaming the Germans:

Health and Public Services Committee meeting, London Assembly, 16 May 2006.

Richard Aylard, External Affairs Director, Thames Water, when answering a questions about leaks:

"We do know where the worst areas are. They're in central London, north of the river. A lot of them correlate with bomb damage from the Blitz, where streets were bombed over night and people went out in the blackout and fixed water pipes together as quickly as they could to get supplies back on and nobody went back in 1946 and said let's do the job properly. Some of those pipes have been leaking for a very long time, that's why we're digging up the City."

@ Bryan - tempting as it is to leave your posting visible, which alleges property developer and government IT contractor corruption and a certain litigous public official, unless you have some actual proof, we cannot risk publishing such potential libels.

email us privately - blog@mayor-of-london.co.uk - if you do have any such proof (use our PGP public encryption key if necessary).

Your points about the lack of a water shortage in the much drier and hotter country of Italy, are relevant to this comment thread, and you might care to re-post them.

The mayor could help the situation rather than pass the buck. All of London is on a domestic hose pipe ban, yet every day I see gardeners working for London council, water flowers and parks around the city with hose pipes that could be mistaken as fire hoses.
A ban should mean a ban for everyone, including public gardens!

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Due to the letter sent to every household, on the 4th of May 2006 concerning the current water drought in london I have noticed the adverts that have been on T.V, billboards and the effort the BBC put on their water week campaign and I think i have finally come up with something that could help manage water more efficiently in homes.
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