The discussion about water shortages and losses is valuable and, certainly, the desalination solution has its merits. However, it misses the point that the Aquifer under London is continuing to fill up and that the water table has reached such levels that, without continuous pumping, the Underground would quickly flood. Also, this rising water is attacking the foundations of tall buildings and they too are forced to pump it out of their footings.

In the past, water companies have claimed that this water is contaminated, principally from Victorian industrial waste, although some businesses have their own Artesian wells and use this.

What is needed is a concerted effort to evaluate the gains to be made by harnessing all the resources currently in use and combining state -of-the-art treatment systems to use this water to both the advantage of London‘s citizens, now and in the future.

We need a modern day Joseph Bazalgette to utilise the existing pumped water, artesian wells and technology and we need the existing costs associated with pumping to be borne by those who make such expenditure. In this way it is probable that utilising the water will be cost effective, even to the water companies.

Bill Ward,

Like Carl King (Letters, 5 June) I too have wondered why we don’t rely more on desalinated water.

Cost is obviously a problem, as these plants are apparently very energy hungry. Perhaps they could be ‘tacked’ on to nuclear power stations, as in the UK they are all by the sea.

All the engineering problems can be solved I’m sure, but what baffles me is what will happen to all the salt? It can’t be dumped back in the sea, as that could upset delicate eco-systems. disused coal mines could perhaps be backfilled, or maybe the plants could do what the food industry did with the cream left over when we all went semi-skimmed — inject it into pizza crust.

Geoff Chamberlain,

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