Every time I hear of a new idea intended to “stimulate the economy” and “create thousands of jobs”, I think of water, for it is rare for any major project not to require water – indeed, I cannot think of one at this time. Proposals to build 25000 new homes to support the bursting population of the UK would necessitate large quantities of water just for mixing the concrete, and then the new homeowners would be needing water for their every day needs; the High Speed Rail link, the new terminal at Heathrow, - and fracking, one of the most water-demanding and water-wasting of all these grand schemes: they all need water.
Many concerns, rightly, have been expressed about the dangers of fracking in our small, people-packed island, and the environmental considerations relating to this latest proposal to use our underground resources to supply our power for another several decades, but little is said about the amount of water that would be required to be used to extract the gas. Where would it come from? How would it get to the wells? And who would do without?
Just as coal became too expensive or insufficient to mine, requiring alternatives sources of power to be found, so too fracked gas one day, inevitably, will become unaffordable. The government’s enthusiasm for fracking is short-sighted and short-termist, and environmentally devastating also. Successive governments have talked about finding natural alternatives to fossil fuels but little of substance is being done, and the quick-fix solution which is fracking will delay the sensible solutions further.
So much money is being spent (I could say squandered) on costly whims which deplete our planet irrevocably: if some of that money were invested, seriously, on developing viable alternative forms of long-term energy supply, then fracking, with all its problems, would not be necessary and the Planet would be much healthier. Our resources should be valued not wasted, for what we do if they ran out?