Thursday, May 03, 2012

My answer to the drought /flood dichotomy.

Water water everywhere but it’s still a drought.  The experts, who I have no reason to doubt, tell us that in the spring and summer, that which doesn’t run off down the rivers all gets drunk by plants, or evaporated when it’s warm.  On telly last night they showed inside a borehole down into an aquifer and it was bone dry despite the wet weather overhead.  Apparently in the South East, a large proportion of the domestic water supply comes from aquifer boreholes.

Then, like you do, I thought of the River Mole.

Somewhere between Dorking and Leatherhead in Surrey this little river loses a big proportion of its water, only to get it back again downstream.  Caused by a steep terrain and a change in the geology from clay to chalk the water disappears down “swallow holes” in the river bed as the underlying water table drops down.   So the aquifer gets directly fed through a hole from the river bed.

Eureka! Hence my master plan, for which I confidently expect a Nobel Prize nomination, although a knighthood would do.

Instead of just digging boreholes to pump water up from aquifers, why not dig a load more to pour water down when we have a surplus on top.  This could get the water straight down there without the tedious slow soak through currently used. I propose a network of these reverse wells (or “Unwells”) be strategically placed on flood plains and in river beds across the country.  Not only would this replenish the aquifers, but it would reduce flooding.  Furthermore the plughole vortices caused by the swirling water going down the holes could be used to spin turbines to generate electricity. 

Sometimes I can’t believe my own genius.

PS Rick tells me that his Long Buckby Weather Station  (i.e the lemonade bottle in his garden) collected 125.3 mm of rain in April which is the most since his records began.  However since his records only began on 17 April, the fact that it is a record is unsurprising.


Nb Yarwood said...

Joe and I watched the same programme and as it failed to provide any 'answers' to the problems it highlighted I think your Knighthood is a given least you have an answer and 'unwells' could well do the trick!!!

Caroline said...

Actually there is another similar solution to ease the pressure of bore holes and aquifers, why not make it a condition of planning for each property or group of properties to have an underground water tank, thus allowing them to use harvested rain water for flushing loos and using the washing machine. We have a 3500ltr water tank burried in the garden along with eight 200 ltr water butts, the contents of which are drained into the tank when it gets low, it's surprising how long it lasts, it is also free! unlike our mains water which is metered, so we have drastically reduced our water usage from mains water.

Neil Corbett said...

What are you doing watching telly? I thought you were busy hanging on to the river bank with your fingernails!

Nb Yarwood said...

Your mistake Neil, it was 'hanging on the bar-stool' by my fingernails..