National Water Grid

The idea of a national water grid is an outdated Victorian approach to a 21st century problem. It's wrong on many levels.

Firstly, it would be phenomenally expensive. Water is heavy; shifting it around the country would cost a fortune.

Secondly, if you were to think of using the canals, this is a static network. If you were to pump water around the canals you would need to reinforce them and you wouldn't be able to use them for what they were intended.

Thirdly, the water chemistry is different. Generally in the north the surface water is acidic and if you are mixing that with basic waters in the south east you will get problems with the ecology. Also your cup of tea would taste funny.

The idea of a National Water Grid is similar to that of the Spanish National Hydrological Plan to 'ship' water from the River Ebro, north of Barcelona all the way down to the country's southern areas.

It involves 900km of pipes and channels and the cost just for the pipes and the new channels is around E5.2bn. You can double that if you include the balancing reservoirs. Because you just can't ship the water down. You've got to put it somewhere. In the UK you would need massive aqueducts and have to find some huge storage area in the south east. Then you would have to distribute it around the area which would need a series of balancing ponds.

It is an impractical and expensive solution that wouldn't actually solve anything.