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    Levels of concern in the UK

2006-03-18 07:22

Two years ago, a survey revealed that at least seven new reservoirs were planned in England.

Meanwhile, planners are dusting off schemes for a national water grid that would bring water from Wales to London, from Cumbria to Bristol, and from Northumbria to southeast England.

One link in the grid would involve building a new dam in Wales to discharge water down the river Severn for piping over the Cotswolds to top up the headwaters of the River Thames.

Britons are using more water, and it is raining less. Britain is, in all probability, moving towards a climate more like Spain's. In parts of the southeast, summer rainfall is expected to halve by 2050, and evaporation rates from reservoirs could rise by one-third. Last year, permission was sought for the first desalination plant on the Thames estuary.

Britons have grown used to always having water in our taps, but we cannot take that for granted.

The UK Environment Agency warned recently that standpipes and rota cuts might be needed in southeast England this summer if it does not rain heavily in the next two months. During the last major drought, in the mid-1990s, West Yorkshire in northern England came within days of running out of water altogether.

(China Daily 03/18/2006 page9)


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