Letter: Drought warning

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The Independent Culture
Sir: In his perceptive comments on the future effects of the rise of temperature ("Can't stand the heat? Plant trees", 3 August), Charles Arthur failed to mention that the distribution of rainfall is likely to be even further skewed away from the South and the South-east. This may be the most significant effect of global warming that we see in this country.

Enough rain falls on these islands to satisfy all our needs, but it is badly distributed, with a very high proportion falling in the thinly-populated West and North-west. In previous droughts, notably that of 1976, I recall that arguments that there should be a national water grid equivalent to the highly successful electricity grid were met with the remark that it was not necessary except in most unusual circumstances and in any case would cost too much to build.

The first argument will carry less weight in the future. As for the cost, would it not be more long-sighted to use the large sum of money that Ofwat has instructed the water industry to return to the consumer as the down- payment on a national water grid?

J RUSSELL

Fleet, Hampshire

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