Leading article: Preparation is the only defence against drought

Share
Related Topics

The consequences of an exceptionally dry spring are hitting home.

The Department for Environment announced yesterday that parts of England are officially in a drought. East Anglia has been hard hit. Parts of the Midlands, the South-west and the South-east are also suffering.

Many water companies have made impressive efforts in recent years to reduce the amount of their supplies that are wasted through leaks. But Severn Trent Water has nevertheless said that there might be restrictions on the public use of water if rainfall stays low. Thames Water has said that hosepipe bans – that bugbear of Middle England – are unlikely. But several more weeks without rain could easily change that. More serious is the threat of further pressure on food prices as crop yields fall because of the lack of rain. We are not an island of dryness either. Large areas of northern Europe are also facing a drought.

If there is less of something – and there is no prospect of increasing supply – we need to use it more sparingly. Peter Kendall of the National Farmers' Union has stressed the need for investment in more sophisticated farming irrigation systems. But this crisis also emphasises the need to speed up the introduction of domestic water meters, which should provide a financial incentive for conservation. Local authorities need to take into consideration the pressure on local water resources when authorising new housing developments.

Some water companies are manifestly more competent than others. The shortcomings of Northern Ireland Water were exposed last Christmas when 40,000 homes were left without supplies over the holiday period during the freezing weather conditions. A Northern Ireland Consumer Council report blamed a failure of planning by the company. Governments and water companies cannot be expected to regulate rainfall patterns. But they have an important job to do, nevertheless, in preparing us to deal with the vicissitudes of nature.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Service Engineer - Vehicles

£25000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's premier supplie...

Recruitment Genius: Home Care / Support Workers

£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...

Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Separate lives: Boston’s streets illustrate the divide between the town’s communities  

Migrants have far more to offer than hard work and wealth creation, yet too many exist in isolation from the rest of society

Emily Dugan
Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird has sold 40 million copies  

Go Set a Watchman: Harper Lee’s new novel is more than just a literary event

Joseph Charlton
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate