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Gridlocked idea


The whole idea of a national water grid' (News 29 June & 6 July) is ludicrous and it is time that we knocked it on the head.

The popular concept is that it would be similar to the electricity National Grid, where water could be shunted at any time from areas in surplus to those in deficit. The direction and quantity of transfers would be impossible to predict and the cost of such a grid would be astronomical.

For a high proportion of the time, the grid - with its associated pumping stations and treatment works - would lay idle, while relatively local water resources were used.

Sensibly, the debate in engineering circles appears to be centred on inter-regional transfers, principally between rivers, supported by releases from regulating reservoirs.

This was the central tenet of several of the strategies proposed by the Water Resources Board - for whom I worked in its reports of the 1960-70s, which were subsequently buried by the new water authorities in 1973.

Now these ideas are reemerging over 30 years later as if they were new. This is as near to a national water grid as we shall ever get.

Peter Bell (M), Silverthorne Drive, Caversham, Reading RG4 7NR

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