Coals to Newcastle – Water to London Next?

We never cease to be intrigued at how adept the British are at re-inventing things. Take the Iron Lady for example. Thatcher re-invented colonial pride over an island that some say we have no business being involved in. The net result was that she re-invented her popularity with the voting public too. What does this have to do with the much hyped drought…

We invented canals to carry coal from Newcastle to London a long time ago. At that time, the providence of shifting water didn’t matter. After all, there were fewer of us then, and Thomas Crapper wasn’t even a twinkle in his father’s eye. BBC.Com reports that London Mayor Boris Johnson is wondering if we shouldn’t take the idea a bit more seriously.

We already have a network of disused railway tunnels and canals that level out the landscape. And it undeniably rains more frequently in the north. In 1973, the now-defunct Water Resources Board had plans in place to use this network. It’s a pity that the idea of national water planning did not carry forward to the Regional Water Management Bodies that replaced it, in a flurry of privatisation.

We’re delighted to hear of the Water White Paper that embraces ideas like increasing interconnection in our water-supply system and considering environmental barriers to large scale transfers. It seems the link along the disused Thames and Severn Canal could provide a flow of two cubic metres per second, and that this could top up London’s reservoirs when this became necessary.

We’re sure that there will be detractors to these controversial ideas. At Auger we take our environment seriously. But when all is said and done, there has to be a balance between saving butterflies and keeping London’s expanding population going. It’s evident some repair work will be necessary.

Ps. If you didn’t quite follow the Coals to Newcastle gag then click here to enlighten yourself…

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