Thursday, 3 May 2012

Water Shortages

I submitted the following on behalf of the Green Party in 2006 to the Draft South East Plan Examination in Public (EiP). If only they had listened we would not be in this mess. The drought is part due to low rainfall but increased use and at the same time building/paving over the land reduces how much rain can flow in to the aquifer. So bad planning from the Tory/Lab/Lib Dem authorities. And the privatisation of water companies sure hasnt helped, they are after profit first, securing supplies for future generations is of less importance. Questions in italics, my (2006) response in normal text. Sub-matter 1E WATER Question 1E.1 Given that EA modelling shows that much of the region will be in deficit by 2025, what is the evidence that a twin track approach of demand management and investment will meet the water supply needs of the region (Policy NRM1)? As the south East is developing faster than the infrastructure can cope with, the current drought is just one symptom, policy NRM1 doesn’t address the cause. Our growth levels are unsustainable, and can’t continue. Government should rebalance our regional economies to spread development out across the regions, instead we are seeing the South East overheating, while areas of the North are stagnating. Also climate change is happening now and we can expect more extremes of weather, so the problems will get worse. Q1E.2 In terms of water efficiency, what else needs to be done at regional level to ensure that demand for water can be controlled and provided for? Is something more practical required in terms of monitoring and implementation? All new developments need to be built to the highest ecohomes standards, not just that in the inadequate Code for Sustainable Buildings. Ecohomes such as Bedzed (1), Hockerton (2) and the Brighton Earthship (3) should be our models and guides. Most of our current housing was built over 60 years ago, but it can be upgraded. The yellow house (4) is a good example of what can be done. There are ways to reduce water use. Firstly car parking areas should not be a sealed surface but made permeable, to increase groundwater recharge and reduce flooding. See SUDS, sustainable urban drainage systems (5). Drinking water doesn’t need to be flushed down the toilet, rainwater can be harvested for that, as well as being used on the garden. All toilets should have a low flush option, as is common in other countries. Low water use shower heads and taps are available from specialist outlets like the green building store (6), should replace all fittings. Water from showers and sinks can be diverted to gardens, no need to overload the sewage system. See the Centre for Alternative Technology (7) for more information. In homes with water meters people are more aware of their use of water, so all home should have them.  Also as corporations are exempt from the hosepipe ban, they have little interest in reducing demand. But if they had an incentive, a lot could be done, for example, car wash water could be cleaned, and recycled and reused. Golf clubs could build a lake and pump their own water onto the green in the summer, no need to use potable water for this or many other business uses. I hope these ideas will lead  to further research, I have provided some links below. Q1E.3 How far is the partnership approach adequate as a mechanism for clarifying and meeting future supply requirements (Policy NRM2)? I agree with FoE. The partnership approach is helpful in sharing information and enabling policy to be formulated. However the remit of the Water Companies to make money for shareholders and to seek least cost solutions for the most part, appears to severely limit the extent to which such an approach can go. Q1E.4 Have the cumulative effects of growth and the implications of providing additional water and waste treatment capacity been taken fully into account, including on river water quality (Policies NRM1 - 2)? If not, how should the policies be strengthened? See my answer to 1E1 above. Q1E.5 Has sufficient account been taken of flood risk assessment in setting the development framework for the region (Policy NRM3)? Development is still happening in flood plain areas, increasing the risk of flooding to other areas, and reducing groundwater recharge. This must stop. Further information is available from lists green construction professionals and offers training courses Association of Environmental Conscious Builders, Eco Houses – examples of best practice (1) BedZED (2) Hockerton Housing Project (3) Brighton Earthship (4) Yellow House (5) SUDS (6) Centre for Alternative Technology (7) Greenbooks, The Whole House Book: Pat Borer, Cindy Harris£35 1998, Ecohouse: a Design Guide Sue Roaf £24.99 The New Autonomous House: Design and Planning for Sustainability Brenda Vale, Robert Vale £20 The Real Green Building Book £2.50 from AECB. The Green Building Handbook Tom Woolley, Volumes 1 and 2: £50.00 Sustainable Housing Schemes in the UK Hockerton Housing Project. Adrian Windisch MSc. B. Eng (hons), South East Confederation of Green Parties


howard thomas said...

As you know I don't go down the 'climate change' theory, we have just had a dry time which will change as it has before. However with the increased population of the UK which is concentrated in the southeast any problem with water shortage is made worse. One answer to this would be to create a national water grid perhaps using the money that ia going to be spent on creting a railway to Birmingham so the journey takes a little less time! You correctly point out that the privatised water companies are only in it for the money. According to the press this week TWA have disposed of 25 various water storage facilities opver recent years, presumably including the one at Bath Rd. and arguing that these were surplus to requirement. I don't suppose they gave the sites away !
Making parking areas permeable would be an excellent idea......perhaps Tesco and others could be persuaded as well, and building new properties to use all the possible gadgets is well worth looking at as well. The same applies to energy production and savings. If that idiot Blair had any sense he would have changed the law to make sure that all propeties built had all the gadgets when he first declared that global warming was the biggest problem facing the planet. I don't believe that and I don't think TB did either otherwise he may have introduced sensible measures instead of simply taxing the issue! Planning permission could have been dependant on having roofs that are suitable for PV panels, and the provision of ground source heat pumps which of course work 24/7. Oddly enough this would have cost the goverment zero money and the only 'loser' would have been the owner of the land who would have received perhaps £9million instead of £10 million to allow the builer the monies to install the extras.
The UK gets plenty of rainfall overall. The problem is that it falls in the areas of lowest population.

Adrian Windisch said...

Good points about car parks Howard, I said that to the planners when they gace permission to tesco on the oxford road. They didnt listen.

Resin Drive said...

You have shared a great information about Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems and Driveway Installation.Which are very

informative for us. Thanks

Resin Drive said...

You have shared a great information about Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems and Driveway Installation.Which are very informative for us. Thanks