News about Britain
April 2003 Each month, the background to a story about Britain.
Read the story, then read the commentssent in by all of you on the topic of water.
Water is essential to life. But there are many ways of managing
its distribution, and ensuring it is suitable for people to drink.
Read the article, check the meaning of words you don't know, and then
tell us what you think about the three questions we've given you.
Finally, listen to a World Service radio programme on water.
Britain rarely suffers from droughts - there's usually too
much rain to find empty reservoirs. But it's still a topic
that gets people talking. The cost of it, for example. In some parts
of the United Kingdom the supply of water has been privatised.
Regional water companies are responsible for water and sewerage.
But in Northern Ireland charges are just being introduced.
Water meters are not used in Northern Ireland and are rare
in Scotland - but they're becoming more common in other parts of
the country. What should happen if you don't pay your bill? Water
suppliers in England and Wales have the legal power to disconnect
customers who have not paid their bills, but disconnections are
always a last resort for water companies and the number of households
that have been disconnected because of unpaid bills has been going
down. In Scotland and Northern Ireland disconnection is illegal.
Sometimes there's too much water. Summer floods in 2002 caused hardships
to many families in Glasgow who were not insured against flood
damage. Comedian Billy Connolly helped to raise money with "Welly
Aid". The 19th century sewage system was blamed.
When it was built it promoted greater public health through
improved water quality. But that was a century ago.
Water quality is another problem. Farmers are sometimes blamed for
putting on their fields fertilisers and other chemicals which later
leach into rivers, especially when the water table
is high. But hundreds of Scottish farmers have been helping to clean
up pollution and help protect bathing water.
Finally, what about the water we drink in restaurants? Britons spend
£700m a year on bottled mineral water. Elegant blue
glass bottles of Ty Nant water from Wales featured in the latest
James Bond movie. (Shaken, not stirred, naturally.) But a report
by the Drinking Water Inspectorate claims that tap water is better
Learn some language connected with this topic in the Glossary:
When you go to a restaurant, do you order tap water or bottled
If farmers or industry pollute drinking water, who should pay
for the clean up?
How should households pay for water - by the average they consume
or by accurate metering?
Thanks for sending us your comments. This topic is now closed. However, you can
click here to read all the comments you sent us. Here's one example: MAURO
F FRANCO in BRAZIL writes:
"I really enjoyed this issue. Water is everything.
Water is life. Here in Brasil, we have a lot of water resources
but Goverment and comunities are getting very worried about it because
we have too much pollution, too. certainly it can damange water.
HERE we have also heard about water recycling. Universities are
studing ways to save and rational usage of water. oh that ´s
all for now. I do apreciate talking something about us to BBC World
Links about Water:
- dropping into water Hydro
- water's revenge - is the first ride of its type to incorporate
an 85 degree angle and it is claimed to produce the biggest splash
by a water ride.