Boris Johnson Backs Water Grid

By Lindsey Last edited 94 months ago
Boris Johnson Backs Water Grid

Our Mayor has used his latest Telegraph column to opine how ridiculous it is we should be suffering a drought in the south of England when it famously rains like billy-oh in Scotland.

Perhaps inspired by the example of the New River - built to bring fresh drinking water from Hertfordshire to Central London - his imagination has been captured by the notion of reviving:

J F Pownall's magnificent 1942 plan for a Grand Contour Canal, which would follow the 310 ft contour of the hills all the way from the Scottish borders to the South East.

You may think he needs to calm down - given he's contending with cable car and floating pontoon showboat schemes already - but it's not as far fetched as it might sound. The north is wetter and the existing network of canals in the UK could potentially be modified for river transfer and and meshed with pipelines to flow water from mountain reservoirs to the dry south. It's not a new idea.

Plus it's not just Boris having a whizz of an idea on his tod. He's been talking to Professor Falconer, of Cardiff University School of Engineering, who is a advocate of the 'water grid' and will be participating in a conference on just that at the Royal Academy of Engineers later this year. Thames Water have historically opposed a water grid, opting to build new reservoirs and desalination plants and try and get us - the customers - to save water.

The current drought threat is as a result of the driest spring for 20 years. Sunday's downpour was but a shower overlaying the dust in the grand scheme of things so do be careful with that bathwater.

The data of UCL's Drought Monitor is updated on 16th of each month. You can check reservoir levels and rainfall figures with Thames Water.

Last Updated 15 June 2011