Street Spirit

By Lindsey Last edited 139 months ago
Street Spirit

In a residential road in North East London workmen in high visibility vests wrestle manfully down muddy holes with broken water pipes whilst smiling, perky local girls ferry tea and biscuits to the hard working hunks, exchanging playful banter. A scene straight out of a "Confessions..." farce?

No. It's the BBC reporting on progress with water mains replacement in Walthamstow. Slow news day, then.

It seems our BBC News team are astonished that local residents aren't blowing a gasket over the much needed and well publicised upgrading of the Victorian water mains and are in fact being pleasant, understanding and cooperative.

The massive programme to upgrade our water supply and reduce leakages has already seen pipes that would stretch from London to Aberdeen replaced and the project accelerated as Thames Water anticipate huge added pressure on the system in future:

By 2016, the equivalent of the population of Leeds (nearly 800 000 people) are expected to move to London

Although streets all over the capital are being dug up, disruption is being kept to a minimum avoiding trenches where possible and only turning off water supplies for up to 4 hours at a time. Given the problems other regions had with their water supplies during the summer flooding it seems unsurprising that Londoners are taking the works in their stride since they will ensure a reliable water supply well into the future.

Meantime, though, may as well indulge in some very English tea and innuendo by the bowsers.

Thames Water: digging up the streets near you soon.

Image of old water mains courtesy of Barbara Rich's Flickrstream.

Last Updated 07 September 2007