Thursday, 7 June 2012

Pointless Studies

“Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.”

The special interests propaganda bureau is back today reporting a classic piece of pointless PR from none other than the Institution of Civil Engineers.

The civvies are expressing some useless news and views on the UK's 'water security' and the ongoing drought which thanks to the declaration of drought is soon to end in floods. We could export this countercyclical  climactic ability to ruin our summers to other rain starved regions by sending Michael Fish out on Somalian state TV forecasting prolonged drought. A few crafty contrarian Somalis might want to band their pirate skiffs together and build an ark.

Important factoids from the release include;

The Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) said security of the UK's water supplies was at a "critical" point.”

Oh my golly gosh!

The ICE have lots of clever plans to help limit usage:

“Universal metering with higher tariffs for non-essential use such as cleaning cars and watering gardens should be introduced, the institution said.”

This sounds unbelievably unworkable to my mind. How could you possibly accomplish this? Separate water meters for your hosepipe tap? Surely this would be prohibitively expensive and impossible to enforce. But no, there is more;

“...the ICE was against the idea on costs grounds of a "national grid" for water in which resources could be pumped across the country to areas of greatest demand.”

Arguably this would be a cheaper idea! Something bored engineers with nothing better to do than write white papers could have a crack at.

Moving on;

“The ICE marked the UK's water security as four out of 10.”

This sounds like a terrible score. But what is the benchmark? I can mark the ICE a 4 out of 10 as an engineering organisation. Against what exactly?

What the article completely and utterly fails to address is that 20% of all water supplies are lost by the water companies in transit. Surely that is the remit of civil engineers not policing hose pipe bans and dreaming up surveys? Why don’t they dig up the bloody roads and replace some pipes and do other engineery things instead of wasting their breath on pathetic PR releases.

If you really want to curb 'non essential' usage of water all you have to do is....raise the price.

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