Water, Water everywhere?

A couple of water related items, which might be ironic for those currently living through the wettest of droughts in the UK.  However, the vagaries of the UK climate do warrant long-term consideration.

National water Infrastructure

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has published a report “State of the Nation: Water”, which can be downloaded at: http://www.ice.org.uk/getattachment/787ca8b0-b524-4158-8353-5f2e85d1138a/State-of-the-Nation-Water.aspx .  The eleven page report is one of a series of annual “State of the Nation” reports prepared for the ICE by an eminent panel of experts and seeks to establish the facts, practicalities and advice on strategy for the supply of the most basic element of life and commerce.  The report proposes three recommendations:

  1. Government should establish a UK Water Security Task Force and roadmap to deliver water security by 2025
  2. The importance of Water to society is more effectively emphasised and water conservation more actively promoted to drive reduced water use.
  3. New sustainable and cost effective supply schemes are developed to maximise the use of water resources in our river basins and where appropriate at wider scales.

A few extracts:

  • “A national water grid is regularly heralded as a solution to the spatial variation in water resources in the UK. The concept of designing a grid similar to the electricity grid to move water around the UK is held up as a “silver bullet”; however, the reality is not that simple. We must change our perception of the form of transfer systems that are likely to provide solutions to water scarcity problems in the UK.”
  • “There are also significant concerns regarding the education of engineers in the UK. University degrees in topics such as hydrology24 and irrigation25 have declined dramatically in quantity. Graduates are often leaving university without the skills and knowledge required to work throughout the water sector.”
  • “Multiple, smaller-scale, local solutions provide a significant opportunity to help alleviate current and future water supply deficits. This ‘distributed infrastructure’ is currently underdeveloped in the UK.” (see also second topic below)

This is an important subject presented in a well argued report.  The observations are relevant to anyone with an association with building, construction and the environment. (I however question the use of the token female on the front cover and the geographical anomaly added to Somerset by figure 4)

I have come across an interesting legal commentary on the report at: http://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2012/june/uk-must-modernise-aging-water-infrastructure-or-face-more-shortages-says-report/

Farm Reservoirs

I have recently been involved in a Farm Reservoir project, one of the small scale solutions proposed by the ICE report.  These are used by farms to store water for use during dry periods to avoid ground-water or river abstraction and are increasing in popularity.  Often exempt from Planning Approval they offer the possibility of a secure water supply and have application for other larger water users, such as playing fields and golf courses.  However, they do require professional advice to avoid the many pitfalls, which might ultimately result in a big empty hole in the ground.  Some resources that might be of interest to anyone considering such reservoirs can be found at:

www.ukia.org/eabooklets/EA%20Reservoir%20booklet_final.pdf

http://www.fwi.co.uk/Articles/03/02/2012/131298/So-You-Want-To.build-a-reservoir.htm

http://wightaonb.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Reservoir-Design-Guide.pdf

Email me at paul.vince@consult-3c.com for more advice.

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