Thursday, 12 May 2011

Managing Public Water Systems - cause for concern

Back to Tap is excited about a recent documentary on public water resources. The 90 minute PBS documentary"Liquid Assets" investigates public water infrastructure across the United States and finds major problems with how the entire system is managed. The film is parter of a larger effort to change attitudes towards public water systems and how they are administered. People are slowly realising how precious water systems are - modern city living would quickly revert to Hobbes' "nasty, brutish and short" description of the human condition.

Showing how various cities in the US suffer from degraded and ill-maintained water infrastructure, "Liquid Assets" raises important questions about how we use and dispose of water.

After watching the trailer, we started wondering about water infrastructure here in London, much of which is also creaking, and was installed far earlier than anything in the United States.

Let's hope that the folks at Thames Water have also watched "Liquid Assets" and that the water delivery and management problems facing our 19th century system do not affect our drinking water. It is not that long ago (1854) that London was suffering significant cholera outbreaks.

If we are to ensure that our water system remains in healthy condition, people must speak up and demand regular maintenance of what is an essential public good. Let's not wait for the bottled water companies to turn off all the taps and take over our water infrastructure. Raise your voice and demand the quality we need to go Back to Tap!


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