GMB Congress calls for Thames Water to source from Wales via Cotswold canals
GMB Congress calls on government and Thames Water to source water from Wales via Cotswolds canals to be prepared for drought years
The idea that water is scarce in Britain is ridiculous. We use less than 2% of the rain that falls and flows into the sea in any year, says GMB London
GMB Congress have today (Tuesday 5 June) called on the government and Thames Water to seize the opportunity of the current restoration of the Cotswolds canals for them to be made ready to be used to transfer water from the Craig Goch reservoir in Plymlimmon mountain range in mid Wales to the Thames. [See notes to editors for Congress Motion]
This could lead to the restoration of the Cotswold canals being funded by the water companies as well as the Heritage Lottery Fund. Congress also calls on local GMB branches to consider joining the Cotswolds Canals Trust to win support for this scheme.
The proposal would help to source enough water for the growing population of London and the South East of England into the rest of this century through to 2100.
GMB has recently criticised the government’s recommendation echoed by the Environment Agency that people should have an individual daily water allowance. The agency’s advice came in spite of the facts that enough water to meet the needs of 20 million people is lost through leakage every day. [See notes to editors previous GMB press release]
The 101st GMB Congress, comprises of 500 elected lay members and 300 visitors and guests. GMB Congress delegates were elected from the GMB membership to represent over 640,000 members from every part of the UK and Ireland and every sector of the economy. Congress is the supreme policy making body in GMB.
Mick Ainsley, GMB Regional Officer said:
“People want to know their water supply is safe and are fed up with excuses as to why moving water around the country to where it’s needed can’t happen, it’s time to make it happen. We need to be putting the National interest before private profits.”
“As for the idea that the Environment Agency has put forward that rationing is the way forward, I think customers in the UK will be horrified at the prospect. If the privatised water companies actually prioritised dealing with the 3 billion litres a day that are wasted through leakage instead of outsourcing it to contractors, there would be less need to meter homes let alone set individual daily water allowances.
“After all the Environment Agency’s own report says enough water to meet the needs of 20 million people is lost through leakage every day.
“The idea that water is scarce in Britain is ridiculous. We use less than 2% of the rain that falls and flows into the sea in any year.
“During the drought in 2012, GMB made the public aware that 25 ‘bulk water storage facilities’ in the south-east had closed since the 1980s, including sites at Stoke Newington, Hornsey and Barnes. A reservoir at Cheshunt was sold to developers with plans for 249 flats and houses to be built, while water storage facility at Enfield was sold to a house builder. GMB called on Thames Water, the Environment Agency and Ofwat ‘to account for allowing parts of this nation to run short of water’.”
Contact: Michael Ainsley 07974 250 947 or GMB London Press Office 07970 114 762
Notes to Editors
1] GMB Congress Motion
359. WATER SHORTAGE AND RESOURCES
This Conference recognises that due to long term weather cycles that London and parts of the South East and East of England will experience periods of low rainfall that will result in reservoirs running short of water. This is likely to happen every 20 years or so.
Conference also recognises that there is no shortage of water in Britain but there is a lack of capacity to get the water from where it is plentiful to areas where it can be scarce from time to time.
Conference dismisses notions of a ¯market‖ for water for households as irrelevant and calls on all concerned to recognise that water is a natural monopoly.
Conference notes that during the last drought GMB put back on the table plans from the old Water Resources Board, developed in the 1970s to move water from the west of Britain to those parts where it is scarce at times of low rainfall.
Conference notes that the Water Resources Board had identified about fifty potential storage developments including new reservoirs, expansion of old reservoirs and more effective ways of managing existing reservoirs and aquifiers. The Water Resources Board established that there is no question that ample resources are available to meet all rainfall patterns.
GMB drew attention to a scheme to enlarge the Craig Goch reservoir in Plymlimmon mountain range in mid Wales and to move the water via the rivers Wye and Severn to be pumped into the Thames via the Sapperton tunnel in the Cotswolds canals at times of low rainfall.
Conference notes that the Cotswolds canals are currently being restored for leisure purposes.
Conference calls on the CEC and National Secretary for the Water Industry to get the Government and the Labour Shadow team to recognise the need for long-term practical plan to deal with periodic water shortages in London and parts of East of England and the South East.
There is no current plan in place as no action was taken on the problem since the last drought.
Conference calls for the plans of the old Water Resources Board to be re-examined updated and developed into practical plans by the relevant water companies. Conference calls on all concerned to seize the opportunity of the current restoration of the Cotswolds canals for them to be made ready to be used to transfer water from the Severn to the Thames. This could lead to the restoration of the Cotswold canals being funded by the water companies as well as the Heritage Lottery Fund. Conference also calls on local GMB branches to consider joining the Cotswolds Canals Trust to win support for this scheme. THAMES GENERAL BRANCH London Region
2] Previous GMB Press Release
'No Need For Water Quota' (23 May 2018)