As a cyclist, I've got to say I'm pretty much down with drought conditions. Lack of precipitation rocks my world. So the last month has been a drag to say the least. Not only have my bike hubs been terrorised by scummy water flying up from the roads, I seem to have spent every day in a partial fug of dampness. Add in a few typhoon strength winds and I'm starting to lose my patience. There's only so many times I want to plough my way through horizontal rain as I cycle a lonely path round the outer ring of Regent's Park.
But what do I matter? Our water resources in many parts of the country are depleted to say the least. We've been printing disaster warnings by the RSPB for months as our rivers start to resemble muddy dirt tracks rather than focal points for nature. So any rain is good rain, right? Undoubtedly the UK needs to reassess its approach to its water supply, as the times they are a changing. With less rain and more people consuming water than ever before, we need to take a series look at water provision for the next 50 years.
So it was good to read this week that the RSPB have taken over the management of large parts of the land around the Haweswater reservoir in the Lake District in an attempt to show the farming community that sustainable farming can go hand in hand with a top quality water supply. At least in one vital area (for the north-west of England) someone – albeit an NGO/charity – is doing a bit of forward thinking about the nature of our water.
It beggars belief that we've allowed our politicians to create joke companies out of a public service industry – our water service, and that we now have shareholders in our water utilities happily taking 'profits' out of the water companies, while up to 30 per cent of our water is allowed to leak into the soil. As a north Atlantic island race, we've been far too complacent about our water supply and far too complacent about what we've allowed our politicians to do – or for that matter not do. Water supply is a service, like a train service or a health service. This is something we appear to have forgotten.
Hasta la vista, amigos…