Water scarce in green and pleasant land? More convincing, please
I just returned home from a holiday in the hills of Southern Spain, and the differences between life off the beaten track in Andalucia and the London sprawl were, unsurprisingly, staggering.
But while I plan to ramble on with one or two other environmental observations in a minute, by far and away the most striking difference was the landscape.
I often here about water scarcity in England, particularly the South East. The favoured stat that gets rolled out is the one about the region receiving the same rainfall per capita as Syria. Now, after flying (yes flying, boo hiss) into Gatwick over a sea of greenery after a couple of weeks staring at the dusty, parched hillsides of Spain, that just sounds like a load of cant.
While I have no doubt that the statistics we're been given are factually correct, they don't tell the real story and if those being given this info feel conned about that, they're going to distrust the messenger about other stuff too.
We need a more plausible explanation about why water matters in the UK, rather than shock tactics.
As an aside, water was off the mains where I was staying and had to be delivered weekly by tractor - with each delivery paid for. Had to go down to the local spring with bottles for potable water. That made a world of difference to treating it as a precious resource, rather than something that comes out the tap that you don't need to think about until the next six-monthly bill arrives.
There also seemed like an odd approach to renewable energy - I knew Spain liked a bit of wind power, but was genuinely surprised and impressed by the number of wind farms that dotted the hills.
But on the flip side, there seemed to be an almost total lack of solar hot water heating on individual housing, which seems to come as standard in most parts of southern Europe. This was despite the fact that, according to locals, building regs meant any new properties had to have it installed.