Isn’t this wondrously partial

I note a fascinating article in the Guardian that suggested that parts of England might run out if water within twenty years. This is, apparently, the view of the Public Accounts Committee.

That’s pretty scary.

But think for a moment about the political connotations. Scotland and Wales will not be running out of water.

The actual PAC complaint:

It said the scale of leaks, at 3bn litres a day, was wholly unacceptable.

That’s for England alone. For Scotland alone:

Leakage is the volume of water escaping from our pipes each day. It is measured in millions of litres per day (Ml/d). Over the last 13 years, Scottish Water has reduced leakage from 1104ML/d to 480Ml/d, and continues to target leakage.

Scotland’s population is 5.5 million, England’s is 55 million. 10 times the people and only 6 times the water loss through leakage.

Which water system is doing better?

And Scotland, in particular, could be a renewable energy hot spot as well.

As has been noted a surplus of wind and or solar power to sell tends to coincide with other people having a similar surplus, meaning that the sale price is pretty low. In fact we already have a system in which we tell people to stop producing renewable power as the price is zero or below. It’s unlikely to be all that great an earner really.

Especially if England stops subsidising Scottish renewables of course.

34 thoughts on “Isn’t this wondrously partial”

  1. Please stop subsidising the troughers.
    The Natzis are too stupid to see the benefits flowing to troughers like Gummer, so it may be the only way to stop more bird blenders.
    It has been pointed out they are the most efficient way to transfer cash from poor pensioners to landowners and energy corps.
    I would require 98% availability from every subsidy farm, if power not available on demand then cost of connecting to Nat Grid is deducted from any future payments, or similar ruinous payment scheme that will drive them bankrupt within a year.

  2. The political shite have built no new reservoirs for 30 + years now. Because the CSMF cunts plan to charge for metered water as part of their green shitshow.

  3. The environment agency have been claiming that, due to climate change, the British Isles no longer have a wet climate. People have a false perception of how wet it is apparently. Presumably this is due to our, evidently false perception that it is frequently hosing it down with rain. In fact, rainfall in England hasn’t really changed at all while Scotland and Wales have become slightly wetter. Basically, our water infrastructure needs sorting but we can’t be arsed so we’ll just blame the water shortages on climate change and then claim that it’s not our fault.

  4. I note a fascinating article in the Guardian that suggested that parts of England might run out if water within twenty years.

    We’re an island. We’re surrounded by the stuff.
    How can we run out?
    Sure, desalination plants are uneconomic now, but if the rain magically stopped falling, then they would rapidly become economical.
    This is up there with only ten years of oil left.

  5. Also, for comparison, water companies provide about 18bn l per day.
    Just to put the 3bn into context.

    I’d also like to point out that the water isn’t ‘wasted’. It goes back into the water cycle to come back and fall as rain again, or wherever the water goes.
    We aren’t really paying for the actual water, we’re paying for all the treatment and infrastructure needed to give us clean drinking water on demand.

    Can we have some people in parliament who aren’t complete morons?

  6. “The environment agency have been claiming that, due to climate change, the British Isles no longer have a wet climate. ”

    Presumably that’ll be the same EA that has been claiming that the UK is going to suffer more and more severe floods? Its also 100% opposite to the rainfall data – rainfall has increased quite considerably since the 60s and 70s, by about 100mm (or 4″ for the oldies) per year, on average.

  7. “We aren’t really paying for the actual water, we’re paying for all the treatment and infrastructure needed to give us clean drinking water on demand.”
    So we’re only wasting the cost of treating 3bn litres of water, not wasting the water itself. Still, it’s probably sensible not to do that, especially if we have to wait for the water cycle to cycle before we get some of it back.
    Maybe the leaks are helping to fill the aquifers? In which case maybe we should shift loads of dirty water round the country in leaky pipes instead.

  8. It isn’t just that wind surplus in the UK usually coincides with a wind surplus on the continent, but also that wind power production is negastively correlated with demand i.e. *on average* there is less electricity generated by wind when there is more demand for electricity. Solar power on a day-to-day basis is quite positively correlated with demand but it is lower during winter when peak demand is higher than in summer.
    The only reliably useful renewable is hydroelectricity.
    Incidentally we *never* have a surplus of renewables – the lowest hourly average for CCGT, the swing producer, last year was 2.5Gigawatts

  9. ‘renewable energy dead spot’

    Fixed it.

    The Murph solution, as always, put government in charge.

  10. @Chernyy_Drakon – July 11, 2020 at 9:06 am

    Can we have some people in parliament who aren’t complete morons?

    It is becoming increasingly obvious that the answer to your question is “No”.

  11. Use the land bought for HS2 to build a water pipeline from the highland zone of the country down to the Thames Valley. If that means more income/less subsidy for Wales or Oop North, so be it.

    P.S. Every time there’s a discussion of leakage I ask how they know how much leaks. I know I’ve received answers but none of them have been persuasive enough to stick in my memory. (Mind you, that’s setting a high bar.)

  12. I think we might have a surplus of energy from renewables –
    It’s just a matter of asking what happens to the CO2 from CCGT and if some of that goes back into plant growth then that portion has to be included in your renewable fraction.

  13. When was the last time we heard the story of how the UK would run out of water in 20 years? Everyone just reads it with bemusement. I seem to recall that on one occasion a young journalist called something like Boris Johnson suggested building a canal along the Pennines to move water from the Lake District down to the droughty south

  14. Water security, and food security, are tropes to get people to accept government control of water and food.

    Billions will die.

  15. @Diogenes,

    I used to work with a bloke who had the firm opinion that water could be moved round the country by canal. Sure, if the volume moving is tiny. If you want to move large quantities the canal has to have a slope on it, and if that slope is tiny, then the cross section has to be colossal. And it’s not like the Lake District is that high compared to the SE – the up and down of a map is a convention. The canal-era canals are just a lot too small, and interestingly, they are all horizontal!

    You can do it with a pipe, because pumps at the input end can raise the water head by more than the physical elevation of the pipe.

  16. I once tried to play pooh sticks on a canal bridge. The only time the stick moved was when the nearby lock gates opened

  17. The water in the canal through my town is constantly flowing; all the lock gates have active spillways. We’re not talking river type flows, but it’s enough to see floating objects move. The canal is a dead end so there must be a waterway upstream feeding it.

  18. So Much For Subtlety

    Back in the 1920s there was a proposal for the, what was it?, 300 foot contour canal. The cost in canals is in the locks and going up and down. Hence Scotland’s wonderful spin doo-daddy that, ironically, you can see very nicely from the train.

    So the plan was to build a canal with no locks on it from the north to the south along the 300 foot contour line. It would be sort of s shaped and linked to virtually all the major UK cities by short links, often with lots of locks which kind of ruins the point.

    But the aim was also to provide fresh water to the south because even back then we were going to run out in 20 years

  19. The New River was built in the seventeenth century to bring drinking water from Herts to London. The incline is five inches per mile. say 300 miles from N to S = 300*5″ = 125ft. Of course it will need to be a bit bigger these days.

  20. Is this just the return of Summer silly season journalism? I hope so, otherwise we are in the new-puritanical thunbergista world

  21. SFMS is thinking of the Grand Contour Canal.

    The Chinese have a project called the South-North Water Diversion. Three canals, each close to 1,000km long.

    They followed a rule of thumb documented by a Roman architect called Vitruvius, and used for Roman aqueducts. The required gradient is 0.002%. That’s slow enough to ensure silt drops out of the water en route. Water takes about 15 days to flow just under 1.000km along the Chinese canal.

    That sort of gradient needs a 20cm drop every km, or 1cm every 50m.

    (There’s a TV series called Impossible Engineering which did a really good documentary about it. It’s series 5 Episode 14, which annoyingly doesn’t seem to be available online.)

  22. A better measurement would be water loss per miles of pipe rather than per capita. Mileage of municipal systems can vary signifcantly between communties depending on topography and density. It is true that politicians are loathe to spend money on infrastructure that is generally out of sight and may require digging up streets to maintain, hence leakage problems.

  23. djc – Wikipedia has the New River as ~30 miles when built (although it isn’t explicit) and 20 miles now in use.

  24. @CJ Nerd
    0.02% surely. 0.1% being 1 in a thousand, so 0.02% being 1 in 5 thousand ( which is 20cm per km ).

  25. The water shortages in south England are Gov’t made

    EU forbade building more reservoirs. Never mind, we have EU gluts every year too – floods

    Scotland: water is still state owned

    @Mr Ecks, Chernyy_Drakon

    A few years ago a constructor literally ‘pulled the plug’ on the Union canal in the Fountainbridge basin in central Edinburgh where canal ends

  26. I wrote a dissertation on the aqueducts of Rome. They had leaks. One of the aqueducts came in over one of the gates to Rome which was nicknamed ‘the leaking gate’.

    Bloke called Frontinus wrote a book about them. And a book of military ruses.

    Anyway, I’ve heard the because of neoliberalism we are going to run out of air within 6 months.

  27. So Much For Subtlety

    China’s North-South project is truly impressive in terms of what a government can do if it has too much money and no underclass holding it down.

    India tried to copy it but their schemes won’t go anywhere. Too incompetent and corrupt. How many miles of new railway has India built since Independence?

    The USSR was going to stop many rivers in European Russia – as far as the Baltics – flowing Westward, and many rivers in Siberia flowing Northward, so that the water could be sent to Central Asia. I am sure it would have been a disaster but spectacular anyway.

    My fvourite would be the American plan to dam a lot of rivers in Western Canada and stop them flowing into the Arctic. The water would be sent by a massive canal system to Las Vegas and Arizona. Canadians hate the idea. But if you are going to go big, this is the way to do it.

  28. Hang on, 480 ML/d for 5.5M people is 87L per person per day!

    Scottish Water estimates 150L per person per day usage (presumably not including leakage). So leakage corresponds to 58% of consumption! For every L used, a touch more than a pint leaks! And that’s after reduction!

    If we go back to the 1104 ML/d, this is 200L per person per day! So more was leaking from pipes than was being used, according to those figures!!! Wow…

  29. Bongo: “0.02% surely. 0.1% being 1 in a thousand, so 0.02% being 1 in 5 thousand ( which is 20cm per km ).”

    Yes, you’re right- I mistyped 0.002% instead of 0.02%.

    Vitruvius actually said 1 in 4800- which is 0.000208 or 0.0208%, which the programme makers rounded to 0.02%.

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