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M69 - Desalinization Motion

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    M69 - Desalinization Motion, TSR Conservative & UnionistWith the UK completely surrounded by the sea the Conservative Party finds the notion that water restrictions may be enforced abhorrent and so we propose that the government build desalinization plants to serve the populace.

    An official drought has been declared in Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Hampshire, Sussex, Kent, London, Surrey, Berkshire, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. Ten of the last eighteen months have seen less than 90% average rainfall (notably December 10, March 2011 - driest since 1961) and April 2011 - ninth driest on record, importantly the Autumn and Winter months of 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 have seen seven out of twelve months with less than 90% average rainfall with February 2012 and December 2010 seeing less than 50% of average rainfall, baring a wet spring it is likely that water restrictions will be enforced by summer 2012 (note that these figures are based on the England and Wales total - the south and east of England has seen even less rainfall compared to average).

    This motion calls on the government to seek private investment (75%) and build three desalinization plants. One would provide water for London, one would provide water for southern counties and one would provide water for East Anglia and the East Midlands, serving around six million people each, the UK currently operates just one, the Thames water desalinization plant.

    The proposed costs for this motion are based on the Thames Water desalinization plant...

    To provide water for 1,000,000 people requires approximately 150,000,000L of water. To build and operate a plant of this size costs around £250 million. The motion calls for a capacity of 900,000,000L per plant at a cost of around £1.5 billion. On top of this you can then power the plants via tidal power further reducing the operating costs of the taxpayer.

    In summary, for a cost of around £4.5 billion (75% of this from private investment) this motion proposes that we provide water for around eighteen million people.
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    We're not actually, in reality, going to run out of fresh water so this is a waste of money in my opinion. Nay.
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    would it not be easier to build more reservoirs and a water pipe network to bring down from the north to augment southern supplies in times such as these when there's a drought? id assume itd be cheaper but failing that this idea is sound
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    (Original post by cl_steele)
    would it not be easier to build more reservoirs and a water pipe network to bring down from the north to augment southern supplies in times such as these when there's a drought? id assume itd be cheaper but failing that this idea is sound
    Apparently it would actually cost a hell of a lot more to build a pipeline from the North, but I still think it isn't worth building these plants.
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    I would like to add that water restrictions were announced today however the motion was written last week and sent in yesterday night so before the announcements.

    But yes, a great motion.
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    I read the title as destalinisation motion. I thought, hmm, this is bound to be a Tory bill! Turns out it's desalinisation and the other bit was right.

    Hmm, well this is a bit of a short-term solution to a long-term problem. You can't keep squeezing people into the south east without this happening again and again. Eventually people are going to have to live in Darlington, Doncaster and Durham. Jobs are going to have to be based on Castleford and not Colchester. But you're welcome to buy Welsh water, there's a lot of the stuff!
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    (Original post by cl_steele)
    would it not be easier to build more reservoirs and a water pipe network to bring down from the north to augment southern supplies in times such as these when there's a drought? id assume itd be cheaper but failing that this idea is sound
    Essentially it would cost a lot to dig right the way from Kielder (a likely candidate) to London and even then one reservoir may not be enough. In addition, pipes often leak which means a lot of repair and while i am sure a new pipe would be more efficient the pipes currently in use for water transfer lose as much as 25% of the water.

    A desalinization plant on the other hand can provide mass amounts of water for a significant number of people and reasonably be expected to last 25 years or more.

    Desalinization is something a lot of countries are investing in and so the UK is simply joining the bandwagon (reduced costs if we can get private investment).
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    x
    Why do you spell it the yank way, with a "z", rather than the British way?
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    (Original post by xXedixXx)
    Why do you spell it the yank way, with a "z", rather than the British way?
    Google Chrome, keeps correcting me.
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    (Original post by xXedixXx)
    Why do you spell it the yank way, with a "z", rather than the British way?
    The -ize spelling was the original British way of doing things. The -ise spelling arose from a touch of Francophilia (who knew) and it has become derigeur to dismiss the -ize one as "Yank". Ironically, most things that the Americans do when it comes to language derive from the way British English was in the 17th and 18th centuries. We all swim to the harbor and labor under the impression that harbours and labours are somehow better. Perhaps they are, but -ize is still British English. It's like the nonsense over soccer and football. Soccer was perfectly acceptable to the Victorians and to journalists and broadcasters until the 1970s, then for some reason it was decided that soccer was an Americanism and it was dropped entirely. Ironic, again, when you think that in many parts of the country football actually meant rugby.
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    Google Chrome, keeps correcting me.
    Strange, it doesn't automatically correct me... When using the proper version of English we don't use "z" everywhere.
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    Completely unnecessary. Look at the List of Countries with Desalination Plants. Why on Earth should the UK even be on that list, let alone consider increasing the number of plants? It is expensive and uses a lot of energy.
    The problem is not that there is not enough water in the South East (by global standards it is highly abundant), it is that we are not collecting enough to have reasonable contingency in bad years (and even then, a hose pipe ban is hardly a "drought" when compared globally). We should think about building more infrastructure to collect rain- and ground-water, not desalinating.
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    Desalinisation is costly in terms of both energy and the funds needed to set it up. Also, London just had a big new plant put up a few years ago - not sure how well it's doing.

    An alternative would be a national water grid to transport the liquid gold from moister areas like my domicile in the North West to the poor thirsty South.

    (Original post by Rakas21)
    Google Chrome, keeps correcting me.
    I think it's much more likely that you're unpatriotic and simply hate British culture.
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    Nothing against it, so yes... Although I'd prefer it if they were nationalised... But yeah, sure.
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    (Original post by mevidek)
    Nothing against it
    I'd rather the money got spent on the NHS or other public services...
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    (Original post by xXedixXx)
    I'd rather the money got spent on the NHS or other public services...
    As would I but we have to take precautions with this drought.
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    (Original post by mevidek)
    As would I but we have to take precautions with this drought.
    Precautions with this drought? By the time the plants were built this drought would be well over. And, we will not run out of water. This would be a total waste of tax payer's money.
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    An excellent motion, which I fully support. The drought currently being experienced in London and the South East is serious and we should be addressing the issue before it spreads, as predicted, Yorkshire and other areas further north.

    (Original post by xXedixXx)
    Precautions with this drought? By the time the plants were built this drought would be well over. And, we will not run out of water. This would be a total waste of tax payer's money.
    Ridiculous! You do not solve drought problems by ignoring the problem completely and hoping it goes away, which is what you are suggesting. Our last major drought was in 1976; it was so bad that water needed to be rationed and many homes were left with no water when they turned on the tap!

    We have had a drier winter than the winter preceding the 1976 drought, so this is an extremely important issue that needs action now.

    It would be expensive to build these plants, but they will create jobs and address an issue that will only come back again in a couple of years time.
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    As i recall, the droughts previous to this were 2006 and 1995.

    People should also consider the impact on farming, the dry Spring last year caused stunted growth.
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    (Original post by Rakas21)
    As i recall, the droughts previous to this were 2006 and 1995.

    People should also consider the impact on farming, the dry Spring last year caused stunted growth.
    Indeed, but I believe the most recent 'severe' drought was the 1976 drought which resulted in many homes not actually having any water.

    I am glad that this motion has been tabled as it must be urgently addressed. The Environment Agency have said that unless we receive above-average levels of rainfall in March-April, the problem will continue to worsen; the Met Office predicts that we will get below average levels over the next few months.

    Hopefully if the Government follows through with the suggestions raised in this motion, then this will address the long-term threat of drought, but unfortunately not the short-term!
Updated: March 17, 2012
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