THE WATER-SUPPLY OF ENGLAND.
To TUB EDITOR OF TUB " SPECTATOR."] SIE,—The recent rains after the drought have brought a welcome relief, but the question of an adequate water-supply is not yet solved. It is a truism to say that there is more water used now, both for domestic and commercial purposes, than there was one hundred years ago ; but it is not altogether a truism to say that there is the same amount of water. For one thing, drainage has been so successfully carried out that in the country, especially after much dry weather, the surface- water is rapidly carried off into the rivers, sometimes causing great floods indeed, but not sinking into the ground and replenishing the springs. Again, though we have much damp weather, is our rainfall constant or decreasing ? English writers have recently been pleading for the institution of Arbor Day in the neighbourhood of our large manufacturing centres, where vegetation is scarce, and quoting the fertility of Nebraska in consequence of the adoption of such a plan. Of course near Widnes and similar chemical works nothing will grow. According to some accounts, the total supply of water is said to be gradually diminishing—e.g., a large lake in Africa has entirely disappeared—and according to an article in a recent monthly, the earth is doomed to die of thirst. Even if that be so, may we not make a struggle against such a fate ? Some few years ago your own paper had an interesting and instructive article on water storage, advocating in England the construction of tanks after the manner of India. Nothing more was heard of it; but surely it is time that something must be done. Here we see some of our great cities so ill supplied with water that, in addition to the chance of possible disease, industries have to be stopped and more names added to the already long list of the unemployed. In country districts it is just the same complaint. The farmers have a difficulty in watering their cattle ; and I recently read that in one village the only water-supply was a well, and each one as he drew had to wait till the sediment had settled. No doubt the country places Buffer because the springs are tapped for miles to supply the towns. Is there no remedy for all this P It is a pressing need, for though we can import all else, we can neither import nor manufacture water ; and it is a matter to engage the attention of the country at large, and not local Qorporations only. Is it possible to devise a system of drainage by which surface-water can be saved, not wasted? And is it possible to construct tanks for the storage of the same, and for their construction could not some of the many unemployed be engaged ? It is for the public good, and it would be a new work, in no wise interfering with any
other trade or guild.—I am, Sir, &Lc., M. A. DELANE.