De­vel­op­ers can help save vi­tal wa­ter

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - 150 YEARS - by Mike Ben­nett

THE need for wa­ter ef­fi­ciency ed­u­ca­tion, for both the pub­lic and the build­ing in­dus­try, was the key theme of a sem­i­nar held in Ash­ford.

De­mand for wa­ter is ris­ing be­cause of large home-build­ing pro­grammes across the South East and higher tem­per­a­tures.

Kent County Coun­cil’s cabi­net mem­ber for re­gen­er­a­tion Roger Gough (Con) told the sem­i­nar at the Julie Rose Sta­dium: “Last sum­mer showed the se­ri­ous sit­u­a­tion we have over wa­ter sup­ply.

“Luck­ily, a wet win­ter and good pub­lic re­sponse has baled us out this time, so a short-term prob­lem has been con­tained but the long-term prob­lems are still very much with us.”

With about 100,000 homes sched­uled for the next 20 years in Ash­ford and the Thames Gate­way, the county is one of the most wa­ter-stressed parts of Bri­tain.

Ja­cob Tomkins, who is a mem­ber of the Gov­ern­ment’s wa­ter sav­ing group, out­lined mea­sures that need to be in­tro­duced.

He said: “As well as re­duced sup­ply, we are see­ing more house­holds with fewer peo­ple in each. The pub­lic won’t put up with the re­al­i­ties of hav­ing to get wa­ter from stand­pipes in the street, not be­ing able to flush the toi­let or have a bath, of work­places hav­ing to shut down, so we must look for ways of re­duc­ing de­mand.

“Pric­ing charges may help. Wa­ter is too cheap but we have to en­cour­age peo­ple to save by re­duc­ing waste, not re­duc­ing nec­es­sary use.

“If we don’t take ac­tion we shall run out of wa­ter and the de­vel­op­ers sim­ply will not be able to build the planned houses.”

Strate­gic plan­ning man­ager Richard Alderton ex­plained how they were han­dling the dou­bling of the town’s size, work­ing with de­vel­op­ers to in­clude wa­ter-ef­fi­ciency schemes.

He said: “Ash­ford mas­ter­plan­ning is a text­book ex­am­ple of hav­ing to cover is­sues from floods to lack of wa­ter and prob­lems of re­mov­ing waste while look­ing for a joined-up so­lu­tion which also pro­tects en­vi­ron­men­tal qual­ity.

“In a rapidly chang­ing sit­u­a­tion we are look­ing to set a bench­mark for the Gov­ern­ment’s agenda for sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment.”

The sem­i­nar ended with a visit to the Hill­reed show home at Singleton, Ash­ford, to demon­strate wa­ter-sav­ing mea­sures.

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Wa­ter de­mand is ris­ing and so is the pop­u­la­tion

Pic­ture: Danny Rhodes pd1164708 Buy th­ese pic­tures from ken­ton­line.co.uk

KCC re­gen­er­a­tion man­ager Abby Ray­mond is shown a wa­ter-sav­ing shower by Jo Richards of Hill­reed

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Kent can’t af­ford to waste wa­ter

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Julie Mor­ris, se­nior wa­ter re­sources plan­ner for the En­vi­ron­ment Agency, checks the wa­ter­ef­fi­cient taps

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