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Water shortages

The question

Spain, Portugal and Australia are suffering droughts, and restrictions are in place in England and France. There is also concern about water supplies across China. What should be done to guarantee global water supplies?

Surely this all comes back to global warming. We need to address the issues of carbon emissions, especially from vehicles and most especially those gas guzzlers in the US. Maybe after Tony Blair manages to squeeze some money out of President Bush to alleviate poverty in Africa he can persuade him to sign up to Kyoto and take some responsibility for the damage being done to our global environment.

Mike Jackson, 49, technical director, Sale Clearly when we have periodic fl oods and droughts the answer has to be to provide water storage that is not prone to evaporation. Recharging natural aquifers or creating new ones by sealing caverns and using natural flood plains appears to be an economic approach. Less draining of farm lands, a reversal of previous policy, would also help. Failing that, many other options are possible but too expensive.

Geoff Home, 55, engineering manager, London Turn off all of the world's golf course sprinkler systems for one week. Surely this measure alone would eliminate water shortage problems. It may lead to civil unrest and rioting from many civil engineers but it would, I'm sure sort things out.

Howard Hutchinson, 35, contracts manager, Dorset (non golfer) The erratic nature of the weather can only be due to global warming and it is getting worse. The world's governments must do something about it before it is too late.

Kenneth Brown, structures engineer, Edinburgh Either we have to move water to where the people are or move the people to where the water is. If only the solution to all my engineering problems were this blindingly simple.

Robert Pike, 43, project manager, Exeter It seems that the simplest way forward is to reduce demand, but to control over-consumption we must wait to feel the pain before action is taken. When this will be is anyone's guess.

Alex Pendleton, 33, consultant, London Save water: have a shower with a friend; or, more seriously, have permanent hose pipe bans (aided by ensuring all newbuilds have water butts), require all washing machines and dishwashers to be water efficient, ensure newbuilds have low flush cisterns in WCs and spray taps where appropriate, and ban home jet/power washers.

Charis Fowler, 32, senior engineer, Midlands Take climate change seriously and change our lifestyles before their effect is even more catastrophic. That includes using what water we have more carefully; in our homes, industry and agriculture - so no more power showers!

Peter Borrows, 63, Thames Estuary strategy manager, Reading

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