Thursday, 22 August 2013

Herne Hill: we flood you, then we charge you for it

As population increases in any given area, water companies have to pump ever more water in order to meet demand. What happens next? Pipes that cannot cope with increased water pressure burst. What happens next? Entire areas are flooded and local people can lose significant amounts of money. What do water companies do after the damage caused by flooding? They charge local people in order to replace water pipes.

When water pipes couldn't cope in Herne Hill, South London, the area near Brockwell Park became a new Venice. All those involved are still trying to calculate the damage caused to both business owners and residents.

Much of the damage could be permanent as one trader is reported to have said: "The worrying thing is I've been here twenty years, and what worries me is whether I'm going to be here in three months, and if I don't get money to pay staff..."

There is structural damage, financial damage and emotional damage. To sum up, residents and traders are bound to lose undetermined amounts of money for something that wasn't their fault and on top of that they will have pay extra charges to water companies and insurance companies.

A spokesman for a water company said: "We get over 200 leaks reported to us every day across our network". Pipes are bursting and systems cannot cope in a city in which proper demographic planning is something unheard of. 

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