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Arable answer

Letters

I am bombarded by publicity to save water and am told to only have short showers and to use bath water and washing up water on the garden. This is apparently because we have had two years of below average rainfall.

In his paper on the Geotechnical Proceedings in January 2002, Richard Pugh plotted rainfall for Chelsea Physic Garden from 1970 onwards showing a cyclical behaviour of three to four years of below average rainfall leading to event years in relation to subsidence.

It hardly needs technical skill to understand that since 1970 there has been an expectation of frequent troughs where the below average rainfall may result in shortages of water at more frequent intervals.

The problem is not shortage of water it is just that when it is falling in surplus we are not storing it. We have a surplus of arable land and I am sure that water could be collected in modest clay-lined storage reservoirs, retained until needed and transferred by pipelines of modest size over modest distances.

Alan Harris (M), 64 Pickhurst Lane, Hayes, Bromley, Kent, BR2 7JF

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