Population growth adds to water shortage

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HERE in the South East of England we are suffering from a prolonged drought and, quite understandably, a hosepipe ban is being introduced from this Thursday.

Given the current low levels of the reservoirs and aquifers, that ban is likely to last until at least the autumn if not longer.

But the lack of rain is not the only factor exacerbating this problem. Population increase also plays a part, and the population of East Sussex has been increasing steadily since the 1950s.

It is still increasing, and though it was under half a million as recently as 2001, it has since grown by more than 20,000 to well over that figure.

But how can this be, when the overall death rate in the county has exceeded the birth rate for the last half century? Simply because the number of people moving into East Sussex has greatly exceeded those moving out.

This is just not sustainable. Not only are we now short of water in East Sussex, but the roads and trains are overcrowded, green spaces are being covered in new developments, health and other services are under severe strain and the countryside is becoming degraded.

It is time to call a halt to the region’s open door policy and a good start could be made by freezing all further medium to large scale housing developments in the county.

Government may not approve of this but if we do not stop the growth now, then when?

Like all resources our water supply is limited, and unrestrained population inflow from elsewhere is a recipe for disaster. Without action, this hosepipe ban will simply be a pointer to our future.

John Harvey