Posted by: waterworks | November 6, 2007

4. Water shortage

The UK government is apparently seeking extended power to save water during droughts following severe shortages in 2004 and 2005.  During recent hot summers, certain inconsistencies have emerged – notably, the fact that while one may not use a hosepipe to water one’s own lawn, it is still perfectly acceptable to use the same hose to clean one’s patio.  In another affront to British common sense, outdoors hot tub replenishment is currently allowed during periods of drought – right alongside calls for the public to adopt the practice of ‘bathing with a friend’ indoors during those self-same times of want. 


Drought often seems to bring a sense of whimsy to British politics and the media.  In 1976 a Minister for Drought was famously appointed to send ‘hosepipe patrols’ in search of evil-doers flouting the newly-established hosepipe ban.  The wonderful Carl Giles, cartoonist for The Daily Express from the 1940s until the 1990s, captured the spirit of 1976 in a series of memorable illustrations.  With hindsight, they show a country that – post-rationing and pre-privatisation – begrudgingly accepted centralised government diktat with less questions asked than might be the case today.


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