Environment - Water, water everywhere ..

1st June 2012 at 01:00

What it's all about

There is a hosepipe ban in the South of England, yet Wales is so awash with water it has offered to sell some much-needed supplies, writes James Williams.

We may complain about being unable to wash the car, but our problems are insignificant compared with greater worldwide water supply issues. More than half the developing world's primary schools do not have access to water and sanitation facilities. Without toilets, girls typically drop out of school at puberty.

It is not only drinking water that needs to be considered: how we deal with our waste is an equally big problem.

In the 1850s it is estimated that 150 million tonnes of sewage a year was washed into the Thames. The effect was to "kill" the river: bacteria thrived, but the fish all died.

In August 1854, a cholera outbreak in Soho killed 127 people in three days. Ultimately it claimed 616 lives. The source of the infection was traced to a water pump in Broad Street (now Broadwick Street) by physician John Snow, who made the link between the spread of cholera and contaminated water. But the Great Stink, as it was named, did have one positive outcome: the building of an extensive sewer system by engineer Joseph Bazalgette.

The British Council and the Open University's short film, Water, A Precious Natural Resource, explores water use, problems of limited water access and what privatisation and climate change may mean for the future. Visit

http: bit.lyKihTP2

What else?

Help pupils understand flooding with an interactive storybook from TESiboard. Find the cause of a cholera outbreak in London in an exciting science investigation from mrharperbhs.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today