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November 28, 2006

Water Meters, Taxes and Consumption Ceiling

Britain's water systems are in crisis and the government has a decade to put things right, according to a coalition of conservation and angling groups. Within two years, their report says, the government should publish a plan for metering every home. The meters should actually be installed throughout England at least by 2020.

It wants the government to set a consumption ceiling of 125 litres per person per day in most areas, and 100 litres in areas of scarcity.

By comparison, a bath uses about 80 litres, flushing the toilet about 5-10 litres, and a hosepipe 500 litres per hour.

The coalition will present its report to environment minister Ian Pearson in Parliament on Tuesday.

Ten years to cure 'water crisis'

Britain's water systems are in crisis and the government has a decade to put things right, according to a coalition of conservation and angling groups.

They are setting out a 10-point plan to make UK water systems sustainable, including fair pricing, slashing waste and upgrading sewerage facilities.

People should have personal allowances and homes should be metered, they say.

EU regulations require member nations to have plans for restoring natural watercourses in place by 2009.

The European Water Framework Directive prescribes that the ecology of rivers, lakes and wetlands should be restored by 2015.

For too long, we've taken water for granted
Fiona Reynolds, National Trust

"This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity," the coalition's report announces.

"With the Blueprint for Water we, a coalition of leading environmental organisations representing some six million people, are calling on the government to act now."

Going with the flow

It is perhaps unusual to find conservation groups such as the Wildlife Trusts, WWF and the RSPB in league with angling associations.

But on water, they find common arguments, namely that Britain should:
> waste less water
> keep rivers flowing and wetlands wet by barring damaging abstraction
> price water fairly
> stop pollutants entering watercourses and make polluters pay
> upgrade sewerage and drainage systems to avoid fouling of human population centres and sensitive ecological areas
> support water-friendly farming
> restore and maintain rivers, wetlands and floodplains

"It's clear that adequate supplies of clean water are essential, not only for our lives but for the health of the habitats, species, landscapes and soils we depend on," said Fiona Reynolds, Director-General of the National Trust.


"For too long, we've taken water for granted - we hope the Blueprint will mark the beginning of a concerted effort to put this right."

While advocating better management of natural watercourses is standard fare for conservation groups, they step outside their conventional boundaries in advocating fair pricing and metering.

Within two years, their report says, the government should publish a plan for metering every home. The meters should actually be installed throughout England at least by 2020.

It wants the government to set a consumption ceiling of 125 litres per person per day in most areas, and 100 litres in areas of scarcity.

By comparison, a bath uses about 80 litres, flushing the toilet about 5-10 litres, and a hosepipe 500 litres per hour.

The coalition will present its report to environment minister Ian Pearson in Parliament on Tuesday.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/6189988.stm

November 20, 2006

High Tech Outhouses

In an effort to handle its nighttime public urination problem, Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, is considering installing high-tech urinals that disappear below street level during the day.

Then at night, an operator comes by with a remote and the Urilift hydraulically lifts to sidewalk level in about two minutes. Then the unit is ready to serve all the nighttime party animals who don't mind peeing in a very exposed public urinal. The $75,000 system has been installed across the Netherlands, and have spread to London and Belfast, but Victoria will be the first North American city to try them out.

Great Canadian Rivers

Explore the history, ecosystems, culture, recreation and economy of Canadian waterways. Find out more about Canadian river facts and figures, including length and location, natural environment, fish and wildlife, and salmon species, habitat, history, culture and conservation. Learn about Canadian parks, trails and outdoor travel and eco-tourism opportunities for sport fishing, canoeing, whitewater canoeing, kayaking, hiking, cycling, mountain biking, camping, boating and birdwatching. Discover the distinctive First Nations cultures, historical figures and events, heritage and historic sites, museums, festivals and cultural attractions that reflect the spirit and legacy of Canadian rivers from coast to coast.

Saint John River
Before its beauty is praised, its virtues extolled, its rich heritage of sacrifice and settlement described, the Saint John River is to be noted for its fine historic pedigree: New Brunswick's greatest waterway was named by one of Canada's greatest explorers, Samuel de Champlain, as he sailed into its mouth at the Bay of Fundy on June 24, 1604, the feast day of John the Baptist. Of course, Champlain's christening of the river was an act of cultural chauvinism. For the Maliseet, or Wolastoqiyik who had camped along its banks for centuries, the Saint John was known as the Wolastoq; for them, it was a bountiful river that led to a bountiful sea. It was their refuge, but it was destined to become the refuge of other cultures, as first the Acadians, and then the Loyalists, fled from persecution and personal danger to the safety of its valley. The Saint John was also destined to become both an international boundary and a major artery of culture and commerce through the heartland of New Brunswick, leading, ever so conveniently, to one of Atlantic Canada's most important harbours. Stretching 673 kilometres from its rugged headwaters in the woods of northern Maine, running southeast to its mouth at the city of Saint John, and draining a vast area of 55,000 square kilometres, the Saint John is one of Canada's greatest workhorse rivers. Forests, farms, massive hydroelectric projects have all left their mark on the Maliseet's beloved Wolastoq, but its rank as one of eastern Canada's greatest waterways remains unchanged.

Read more here