I FULLY support Richard Tilden-Smith’s quest for more mountain reservoirs (with hydroelectricity) and a water-grid, (letters 24/2/12) but there is an important caveat, the answer to which truly does lie in the soil, not in a lack of infrastructure.
Reservoirs rely heavily on rainfall while rivers rely on subterranean water courses, springs, leaking water mains, tributaries, melt and surface water which, in turn, irrigates the land on which we and nature survive for food and oxygen.
There is therefore a finite limit to how many people our island can support; even today Egypt is depleting huge natural subterranean desert reservoirs, filled over millennia, to grow spuds for Britain!
We should never sacrifice productive land for reservoirs or more housing.
In Victorian times, England’s population was 17m (1851); today it is 52m - and rising exponentially.
The North Kent/London Basin chalk reservoirs are near empty through supplying London.
Droughts happen naturally and regularly; there were three months of drought in 1886, 1898, 1911 and 1949.
My work took me to Bewl Bridge several times during 1976 where I watched its meagre 6ft of water being pumped back into the Bewl to feed the Medway Towns!
At that time, Southern Water was fighting hard to get a new reservoir built at Bridge, Canterbury.
The fight to preserve our rapidly diminishing but productive Garden of England won - quite rightly so - only for it to be concreted over for yet more homes!
England now has the highest density of population in Europe, and the densest politicians who have permitted its uncontrolled growth.
Before Beckley got mains water in 1963, we lived off a single well of beautifully sweet water and rainwater butts, drawing off water sensibly; we survived!
Occasionally, mid-summer, our wells ran dry, but today, our two wells struggle to get half full, while our bubbling springs are a distant memory.
Our consistently low water table highlights excessive abstraction to meet evermore demands by too many people for their wasteful life-styles, air-conditioned offices and water-hungry building sites.
England is full! Raise the drawbridge!
Barry M Jones
Bixley Lane, Beckley