Star comment: Looks like public must take the lead on water shortages

There are fears that a dry winter will follow a hot summer.

We are now officially in drought. That doesn’t mean much has changed in reality, but hosepipe bans could be down the line if nothing changes.

With more dry weather forecast and little significant rain in recent times, we must all do our bit to help, including taking it easy when watering plants.

Water levels in the Severn Trent area are at a situation where official measures are needed and the fear is that a dry winter will follow a hot summer, leading to an ongoing crisis.

There are legitimate questions to ask of both our water companies and our Government. The inability to transport the right type of chemicals to water treatment plants has led to vast quantities of sewage being dumped into rivers and into the sea. No new reservoirs have been built since the drought of 1976.

The profits made by water companies, however, are eye-watering. There is a clear imbalance between the needs of business to make profits with their responsibility to maintain infrastructure and invest in decent services.

The Government has also cut funding to projects that keep our water courses clean, while voting in favour of allowing businesses to dump sewage into the sea. And that’s before we look at those companies’ records on leaks.

As we face the crisis of a water shortage, it’s once more left to well-meaning individuals to take personal responsibility while big business seems to make vast profits without fulfilling its obligations to the British public.

As happened during the pandemic, we must take the lead and hope that our responsible, ethical behaviour will bring about improvement and change.

West Midlands Police chief constable Sir David Thompson has always been one to speak his mind. Today he jumps to the defence of the Lincolnshire force, whose officers have been criticised for dancing at an LGBTQ+ Pride event. As per usual, Sir David talks sense.

Police officers attending events of whatever description need to show their human side. No comments were made when police joined in the fun at the Commonwealth Games, so why should a Pride event be any different? The demeanour of police is incredibly important in large public gatherings.

Anyone attending football matches will know that those policed with a smile tend to be better. Diffusing tension, or tapping into a good vibe, is as much the work of an officer as making arrests. The trolls who’ve criticised officers are wrong. They were in the right place at the right time, doing good work.

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