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.
It’s getting late in the County of Cornwall, so I’ll be brief to begin with. Much more from me in due course, but for now I’ll merely mention that yesterday I was interviewed by BBC reporter Kirk England on top of the Colliford Reservoir dam. You can read all about that in another Davidstow.info article, catchily entitled “Where has the water in Colliford Lake gone?“. That one is also a work in progress, so I have a fair bit of catching up to do.
Not only that, but also on the previous Monday I was interviewed by ITV reporter Grace Pascoe about a rather different environmental issue. You can read all about that in an article catchily entitled “How long does it take for Truth to pull her boots on?”. That one is also a work in progress, so I have a lot of catching up to do!
In case you’re wondering, the common thread here is the way information is distorted as it moves in fits and starts across the world wide interweb. Chinese whispers if you prefer, but I prefer the term “truth decay”. In todays initially brief example, Kirk’s article on the BBC web site about the abnormally low water level in Colliford Lake included this extract of our recent conversation:
Environmental campaigner Jim Hunt from Davidstow, near Camelford, has been monitoring reservoir levels – including at Colliford – for the last few years and said the level was “astonishingly low”.
“It rained hard over winter, with a very dry February and now Cornwall’s biggest reservoir is half-full,” he said.
The reservoir level at Colliford is “astonishingly low” according to environmental activist Jim Hunt of Davidstow, near Camelford, who has been keeping tabs on reservoir levels for the past few years.
Cornwall’s largest reservoir is only about halfway full, he said, because of the heavy rainfall experienced throughout the winter and the unusually dry conditions in February. “Where’s the water gone?”
The article led with this artistic mashup of my very own visage with an aerial view of Colliford Lake and the suggestion that “Desalination ‘could provide third of county’s water'”:
I suddenly find myself strangely schizophrenic. Is “Jim Hunt” an “activist” or a “campaigner” or both? And does “Kirk England” have an alter ego called “Kelly James”?
[Edit – March 8th]
I’ll have to stop Googling at bed time. It’s bad for my health. Tonight I discovered an allegedly “exclusive” report about South West Water’s plans to construct two desalination plants on the south coast of Cornwall. Google linked me to an article on inews, a mainstream media organisation which claims to be “For Open Minds“. Allegedly:
inews.co.uk is the UK’s most trusted news brand, according to data from industry auditor PAMCo. We’re proudly independent and have no agenda when it comes to political disputes – but we won’t hesitate to call out injustice or wrongdoing when we see it, no matter who’s doing it.
Our coverage of the news doesn’t stop at the headline, but digs deep with people-focused stories that reveal the truth of life in the UK, explainers that make politics plain, and vibrant coverage of social and cultural talking points.
More than a third of Cornwall’s drinking water could come from desalination if plans for two plants go ahead, South West Water said.
The two plants planned for Cornwall’s south coast will provide around 60 million litres a day. Cornwall uses 170 million litres of water in a 24-hour period, meaning more than a third of its water could come from the desalination plants.
South West Water is yet to disclose the two locations for the plants, but admitted they would not be ready by the time tourist numbers begin to rise significantly over Easter or by the time hundreds of thousands flock to the country each month during the summer holidays.
A spokesman for South West Water said: “We are working towards having plants operational by the end of summer 2023 and are working closely with the Environment Agency and Cornwall Council to achieve this challenging target.
The thing is David, I’d already established that fact long before you “tweeted” your “exclusive”. At 9:46 AM on March 7th to be precise:
As you can see, I’d also managed to dig out an “exclusive” of my very own. As I drift off to sleep with the rain pattering on the window I cannot help but wonder:
How do mainstream media “Chief News Correspondents” go about doing their due diligence in this day and age?
[Edit – March 9th]
After a fitful night’s sleep I woke early by my standards. I decide to experiment with Bing’s shiny new “AI powered” search engine. I eagerly typed in “Jim Hunt Davidstow” (without the quotes) and pressed “enter”.
Top of the image search was this excellent portrait of me:
Page 1 of Bing’s search results looked like this above the fold:
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.
The school summer holiday season is drawing to a close, and August Bank Holiday is almost upon us. Matt Hancock was one of many hundreds of thousands to travel down here from up country earlier this month:
The effect on Covid-19 cases here in North Cornwall is all too evident. The Camelford and Davidstow area is now in the top category for cases:
However we are still a long way behind Newquay East, which today broke the 2,000 cases per 100,000 people per week barrier:
Here once again is the “heat map” showing the age distribution of cases across Cornwall as a whole for the current wave of Covid-19:
The upper limit on the 7 day “rolling rate” legend really requires updating. In the 15-19 age group the rate has now reached 5,080.6. For 20-24 year olds it is 2,419.4.
All the current Davidstow parish councillors have been re-elected without opposition, so we have had to look further afield for some election day excitement. On Thursday instead of our usual gentle stroll to the other side of Tremail we had to take a drive in Lisa, our trusty Nissan LEAF electric vehicle:
We spent yesterday “live Tweeting” the election results from across Cornwall as they arrived, including this “shock news” from our recently boundary changed local district:
As you may be able to surmise from the above, we weren’t too impressed with the ultimate conclusion across Cornwall as a whole:
With a 37% share of the “popular vote” the Conservative Party now has a 7 seat majority on the “redistricted” Cornwall Council. With a 9% share of the vote the Green Party has but a single seat. Personally I cannot comprehend what the farmers and fisherfolk of Kernow were thinking when they voted for someone sporting a true blue rosette.
The official announcement on the Cornwall Fire & Rescue section of the Cornwall Council web site concerning the most recent “wildfire” in the vicinity of Brown Willy/Roughtor is fairly bland:
Rough Tor area at 22/04/2021 09:47
Cornwall Fire and Rescue resources have been in attendance throughout the day at a multiple seated fire covering an extremely large area, crews have been using beaters and hosereel jets to check the spread of the fire. There have been appliances in attendance from Delabole and Wadebridge, also the Wadebridge Water Carrier. A Wildfire Officer is on scene this evening and monitoring the incident which is likely to progress well through the night. Arson is suspected, Devon & Cornwall Police have been informed.
Update 0030 hours: Approximately two hectares of gorse is affected, with hot spots continuing to smoulder, crews are monitoring and continuing to damp down.
My bold! The assorted pictures on Twitter are much more revealing, including some from the intrepid investigative reporters from Davidstow.info:
There were two similar fires in the same area around this time last year. Since then some CCTV cameras have been installed:
What additional steps could be taken to try and apprehend the guilty party(s), who apparently have no qualms about incinerating the local wildlife on a regular basis?
Following the resignation of Keith Goodenough there is now a vacancy on Davidstow Parish Council. At least 10 residents of the parish have requested that an election be held, and if you wish to apply to fill the vacancy the necessary steps are detailed in this document from Cornwall Council’s returning officer, Kate Kennally:
Nomination papers can only be submitted in person on any day after the date of this notice, but not later than 4 pm on Tuesday 9 April 2019 to the following locations on the specified dates and times:-
2-5 April to the Deputy Returning Officer, Room 12, Cornwall Council, St Austell Information Service, Council Offices, 39 Penwinnick Road, St Austell PL25 5DR between the hours of 9.00 am and 5.00 pm and 9 April between the hours of 9.00 am and 4.00 pm
8 April to the Deputy Returning Officer, Deputy Returning Officer, Otho Peter Room 1, Launceston Town Hall, Western Road, Launceston, PL15 7AR between the hours of 9.30 am – 1.00 pm and 2.00 pm – 4.00 pm
If the election is contested, the poll will take place on Thursday 9 May 2019.