Continuing my due diligence regarding the current “astonishingly low” water level in Colliford Reservoir I’ve been searching for hints on South West Water’s recently announced plans for two new desalination plants on the south coast of Cornwall. I’ve been poring over their draft Water Resources Management Plan (dWRMP for short) for 2024, which I downloaded quite some time ago. It’s a hefty document, but given the recent media frenzy about possible desalination plants in Cornwall I’ve been over it with the proverbial fine tooth comb. I eventually discovered the information I was searching for in the last place I looked.
Chapter 8 on “Supply-Side Option Development” seemed the best place to start. It had this to say:
The potential addition of repurposed mines and quarries and desalination as supply side options for our SWW WRZs are being developed in response to the current (2022) drought. At this time, no specific options can be included within our feasible list. Work is ongoing and we envisage options will be progressed to a stage where they can be included in our approach by the time of our Statement of Response. Refer to Annex C of this Chapter for more information on our considerations on the use of desalination as part of our revised dWRMP.
As our regular reader(s) will be aware, we have been closely following the water level in Crowdy Reservoir since the locked down spring of 2020. We also started following the water level of Colliford Lake very closely in the early summer of 2022 and during the subsequent drought. Cornwall is still subject to a “hosepipe ban“, officially termed a “temporary use ban”.
More recently we have been astonished to watch the graph of Colliford water storage on South West Water’s web site as the water level in by far the largest of Cornwall’s reservoirs failed to reach even 50% of total net capacity so far this year. By last weekend it had even started to fall:
This morning we went to see for ourselves what a half full reservoir looks like. Here is some of what we discovered, starting with evidence of previous human activity in the vicinity of what used to be Menniridden, recently uncovered for an extended period by the currently abnormally low water level in the reservoir:
Here’s the first in a series of videos we recorded. This one starts with Kasia wandering across the vast exposed “beach”, shot from on top of Colliford Dam:
Ahead of the first launch from UK soil, “Cosmic Girl” Virgin Orbit’s converted Boeing 747 launch vehicle has touched down at Spaceport Cornwall, Cornwall Airport Newquay.
Cosmic Girl will carry seven payloads into Lower Earth Orbit from Cornwall via the LauncherOne rocket on the aptly named “Start Me Up” mission; Virgin Orbit’s first international launch.
The missions of these satellites span a wide range of activities aimed at improving life on planet Earth, including reducing the environmental impact of production; preventing illegal trafficking, smuggling, and terrorism; and a host of national security functions.
Amongst the numerous people quoted in the press release, Matt Archer, Director of Commercial Spaceflight at the UK Space Agency, said:
Watching a 747 land is always impressive, but everyone had goosebumps as Cosmic Girl touched down on the runway at Spaceport Cornwall for the first time.
We are now a matter of weeks away from launch and, while the excitement is building, teams on the ground continue to work hard on the preparations. More equipment, including the rocket, will arrive in the coming days and the delicate task of integrating the satellites will begin.
We have never done this before in the UK, it is a complex and technically challenging endeavour, and I’m confident in the capabilities of our partners at Virgin Orbit and Spaceport Cornwall to deliver a successful mission.”
Linda Taylor, Leader for Cornwall Council, added:
This is an exciting and significant moment as we welcome Cosmic Girl to the first UK Spaceport right here in Cornwall. Cornwall Council is proud to be a part of this project which puts Cornwall once again on the global stage. Spaceport Cornwall is already inspiring our young people to become the next generation of scientists and innovators – we look forward to the ground breaking research and exploration that will be undertaken in the years to come, which will help us to better understand and address the needs of our planet and in particular climate change.
In Friday’s mini-budget the Government announced the creation of 38 “investment zones” across England. In effect planning regulations are loosened to allow for potential growth, giving construction companies “carte blanche” for development. As a result wildlife habitats will be destroyed and, according to the RSPB, this represents an unprecedented assault on nature. The environment will be one of the biggest casualties in a very short sighted plan. Without a healthy environment nothing will thrive.
Meanwhile Scott Mann, our local MP, is contradicting the RSPB by “retweeting” Defra:
I think the facts speak for themselves.
It is mind-boggling that at a time when climate change is of major concern, the Prime Minister focuses on growth with no concessions to the green agenda. Does the new government live on a different planet from the rest of us? How can we as a country go for growth if wildlife and nature are the casualties? The planet is already suffering and scientists insist we need to reverse CO₂ emissions and live sustainably if there is going to be a future for homo sapiens and other animals here on Earth.
This Government is actively accelerating the demise of life on this planet. Thumbs down.
The action was part of an ongoing series of protests leading up to the G7 summit to be held nearby, featuring Boris Johnson sharing intimate quality-time in Cornwall with a Fossil Fuel Buddy. The celebrity pair were seen sitting on deck-chairs as the sun rose and a boat burned in the bay, billowing black smoke, across its sail inscribed ‘Your Children’s Future.’
Protestors say the scene represents the UK government’s total lack of purpose to do anything to combat the catastrophic climate change, ocean acidification and biodiversity loss that will devastate all our futures and leave a dead ocean for future generations. Ocean Rebellion members say the UK government must make the ocean a priority at the G7, and want politicians to distance themselves from the fossil fuel industry. They demand all governments cease subsidies to shipping and begin to tax shipping fuel. They demand the fleet is furloughed until a full and open investigation of world fish stocks is completed, with all fisher folk to receive full pay using a tax on commercial shipping fuel. Ocean Rebellion members say the UK government must make genuine action on climate & nature the priority at the G7. The time for posturing is over.
Sophie Miller of Ocean Rebellion said: “Countless young people have already decided not to have children because the future they will face is simply too hard. With extreme weather already afflicting many people, crop-yields are failing and food shortages are leading to conflict, forced migration and famine. Our disregard of the Ocean has led to a catastrophic decline in fish stocks, with many crucial habitats totally destroyed.”
Rob Higgs added: “This is an emergency. Ocean Rebellion is appealing to the G7 to wake up, join the dots, and take immediate action: Marine habitat destruction is causing elevated levels of atmospheric CO2. For instance, UK bottom trawling dragging heavy weights along the seabed to catch fish] generates emissions equivalent to 13% of UK terrestrial emissions.”…