Novelist. Author of APSARAS and tales from the beautiful Saigh Valley. First person to quantify spiritual values.

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Monday 27 February 2012

North-South water pipeline

At last-some sense. A water company is proposing to build a pipeline that will take fresh water from the rainy north to the parched south. The only wonder is that this hasn't been done before. I bet that if the south was suffering severe draught in the Victorian era, a beautifully designed and built pipeline would have been put in place, complete with jaw-dropping aqueducts and tunnels built to last.

Typically, the objections to such an idea have been build cost, operational cost, planning difficulties and environmental impact. The new proposal is that the pepeline will be built alongside the new high speed rail link, thereby nullifying the last two objections. What the hell is the 'operational cost'? Once built it's a pipe for heaven's sake. There should be no operational costs other than those to monitor to whom the water goes for payment purposes. It should be built to modern standards, including earthquake resistance, insisting that it is maintenance free.
That leaves build cost. With the ground prepared for the railway, I would have thought that the cost of pipelaying, including weld testing, would have been reasonably inexpensive for a project of this type. In other words, this is an excellent scheme that MPs should approve with the minimum of delay, extending the pipe to Northumberland where water can be taken from the normally full, Kielder resevoir. It is an opportunity for the North to enjoy some income from their natural resources, money that can be used to build a better economy away from the service rich south east.

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