Water – I’ll be back

Despite southerners all being inbred and webbed of foot, I’ve not enjoyed seeing the scenes of flooding recently. Firstly, that will push up my insurance premiums next year, but secondly, floodwater has poo in it, and you don’t want that on your settee and carpet. If it’s any consolation, SCS and Carpetright have a sale on.  Seriously though, it’s awful, and my sincere sympathies.

I’ve thought hard how to write this, or whether I should, because it’s quite serious, and to keep it short enough and interesting enough, so I’ll do it with my usual way, with swearing and ranting.  The thing is, I’ve been studying environmental science for 6 years, having had growing concerns for our planet since I saw Arnie say “It’s in your nature to destroy yourselves” in Terminator 2. And he’s right.  During my studies, a lot has been based on water, something we all need, pretty much every living thing needs in one form or another, and, as they say on Comic Relief, we all take for granted. Not taking the piss there, we do here in the developed world.  The thing is, just because here in the UK we all have water, we’ve seen fit to ignore what an arrogant bastard water is, but because we Brits are equally arrogant, us and water are having a few fall outs, and they will continue.

A quick couple of facts on our arrogance.  It’s not that long since we stopped throwing our shit in the Thames. Men came round, collected bags of shit, and tipped it in the Thames.  It was only when it started to smell did anyone do anything about it. Sad really, that it only stopped because people didn’t like the streets stinking of shit, fickle as fuck aren’t we?  150 years might sound a lot, but it isn’t really, and look at the effects; go for a swim in it even now and you’ll be honking your ring up by suppertime.

We were so cocky that we even told people in Africa what they could do with their water.  You may recall that Europeans were fond of popping into Africa and stealing a country should the mood take, and the Brits were no exception. “OI, YOU THERE, SEE THIS MUSKET? WE’RE FUCKING WELL HAVING THIS VILLAGE” we would say. How they all laughed.  They must have laughed even more when we told the Egyptians that 96% of the water in the Nile was theirs, and that no-one else could touch it, except Sudan, which could have 4%, despite the fact that the Nile starts and runs through a dozen other countries.  Despite some diplomatic dialogue, and slight change in attitude, this agreement is still referred to now, and when the Ethiopians finish their new dam, which will take a good while to fill, and the Nile dries up downstream, well, I don’t think it will be pretty, and if I’m honest, I really do fear what might happen there.

Well that was a bit serious. Let’s lighten the mood; other nations are thick and arrogant too!

Look here, at Guatemala, sinkholes! Massive fucking sinkholes, this isn’t street art! 2010-guatemala-sin_2499627k

Look at it! There are loads there. They didn’t check the geology before building a city. They put in sewerage systems that were, well, shit. Leaking water, lots of it, breaks things, even rock.

You know Mexico City? It’s sinking. A bit like Venice, and several other cities, but Mexico City has sunk 13m in the last 100 years. THIRTEEN METRES! Why? They get their drinking water from an aquifer under the city, and just under 10 million people live there. They are drinking themselves into the ground.

Where am I going with this? Well, I’m not sure, because there are no answers, as David Cameron knows. Take yesterday, he was asked “Are you doing enough to combat flooding”. He replied “Well, let me tell you what we have done… [some facts and some figures, not answering the question]… but it’s quite clear that more needs to be done”

No, David, the answer is no.  But you know what, I kind of feel sorry for him, because it’s not his fault. It’s everyone’s fault. There aren’t many humans on this planet that aren’t looking out for themselves and their own, why wouldn’t they, myself included. The thing is, a lot of us are ignorant. When we’re sat playing Angry Birds while having a shit, do we give a toss where the turd we are crowning is going to end up? Do we fuck. Do we care that every now and again one might need two flushes because we ate half a cow last night? No. At the point of ejaculation, have you ever thought “hang on, the population is growing a bit fast, and those poor fuckers down south have run out of sandbags”. I doubt it.

Yes, we’re all to blame, as are our ancestors. The population has grown and grown, from 1 billion in 1800 to over 7 billion now. People want houses. Houses stand on concrete. They want schools, and shops and hospitals, and bigger houses, and cars which are built in factories, and drive on roads, and all these things are built where there used to be soil.  Concrete doesn’t absorb much water, the water runs off it, and into the rivers.  Then it comes out of the rivers and pisses into our gardens.

Politically always arguing the toss, too busy knocking out kids and absorbed in our own lives to realise that we are making a right cock of the planet, and doing exactly what we like.  We are changing our oceans, and the atmosphere, honest, we are, and we keep moving water around for our own needs.  People see green taxes as simply taxes. People read a sensational lie, and hear that instead of a boring FACT. I’m not going to bang on about climate change, Joe Public is past caring, but it is happening. No? Are you over 35? Did it snow EVERY winter when you were a kid, it bloody well did. You can say “coincidence” all you like, but look at CO2 in the atmosphere compared to Global Mean Surface Temperature rise.

Phew, went all tree hugger then. Sorry. Let’s get back to Arnie.

Remember this?


That is the Los Angeles River. Look it up.  Not much of a river is it. Where’s all the water? Moved it, so they can build. And that’s the problem; too many people, wanting too much stuff, and building wherever we like. Moved it, built it, fucked off, to quote the late, great Peter Kay.

It’s not all doom and gloom.  The Environment Agency and local authorities are doing staggering amounts of work in flood prevention, miles away from rivers, coming up with ways to stop the water getting there. Trust me, they really are; look up your local authority’s flood prevention plan, you will be amazed.

We want to blame someone, it’s in our nature now. It’s always someone’s fault, and when you find them, they’ll tell you it’s someone else’s. You won’t find the culprit, I promise you.  I see Dave Cameron has said “Money is no object”, only for everyone to scoff. Thing is, it’s not, insurers and tax will pay for it. Then we’ll all pay more insurance and tax, and complain. Except for the plasterers, the sparkies and the builders. Lot of homes to fix. They’ll eat in local pubs and butty shops. Money into the local economy. A small silver lining? For a few.

I’m afraid though flooding will always happen in the UK from now on. We’ve covered it in concrete. This is the catchment area for the Thames

Thames catchment

Big eh? How much of that is concrete? Rain has to go somewhere. Scary stuff.

I’ve nearly finished now (Thank god eh?) but I could go on with many examples of man made water disasters.  However, what always inspires me when a man made disaster occurs, like now in the south, or New Orleans, or natural disaster like the Boxing Day tsunami, and the tsunami in Japan, where water kills thousands, and ruins peoples lives for ever, people pull together. Communities, towns, countries, and help from all over the world, all pulling together, to help….

why don’t they do that before the disaster?  *passes peace pipe*


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