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Hawksely battles are still being fought today

Mike Chrimes' article on Thomas Hawksley drew attention to the inspirational work of Victorian engineers. Hawksley was the initiator of modern water supply through his insistence on supplying water through continuously pressurised pipes.
He ensured that contaminated groundwater and wastewater no longer entered the pipes on a daily basis, as was the case with intermittent supply - the norm until his influence.

He met with vociferous and powerful opposition to his concept over a 20-year period. Parliament finally acknowledged the superiority of continuous supply by making it one of the objectives of the 1854 Water Act. Implementation saw the health of the general public improve immensely.

Over the last five years, as a consultant to World Bank, I have been fighting the same battle of continuous versus intermittent supply in India where, presently, no city or town has continuous supply.
Finally, after long and hard debates with government, engineers and politicians, pilot areas in four cities have been converted to continuous supply and it is a pre-condition of urban improvement plans for those towns applying to government for improvement grants.

The difficulties that we encountered in waging this battle have only increased my respect for Thomas Hawksley, the pioneer of the concept.

STEPHEN MYERS (F),
SMYERS@STEPHENMYERSASSOCIATES.COM

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