Thursday, December 30, 2004

Reflection - the Colour and Cost

I walk in the sun on the green field spreading flat and wet under my feet, along the smooth manufatured river bank, up to the chevron weir that always somehow smells of laundry, where the water of the Congresbury Yeo is aereated. A boy is fishing, but the water is brown because of recent rain and the fish have gone somewhere else - either that or they do not eat when the water is silty.

One day the river will rise over the banks again, and spill onto the fields designed to contain flood water. Once, twice, three times it will fill the flood plain, and drain away again through the rushing constriction under the road bridge. Then one day, the water will flow in faster than it can flow out, and all our carpets will get wet again. Probably nobody will drown, although one or two hearts may fail, and there will be much depression subsequently.

This could be prevented by fluming the bridge, and planning an emergency by pass channel to conduct the water into Yeo Moor which is plenty large enough. But this would cost money - a fraction of the cost of the damage from a flood sure, but nevertheless it would cost, and that would come out of the Environment Agency's inadequate budget. A disaster, on the other hand, would come from the insurance companies' budget. I tried to get the insurance companies interested in flood prevention, but they "did not want to go down that path".

We have committees whose job it is to see that no money is spent on preventing trouble. Committees who specialise in saying No, and deriding voices who warn.

Committees who decide that seismic warning systems in the Indian Ocean area would cost too much.

Committees whose decisions have killed more people than Blair and Bush could dream of.

The sky is blue, the grass is green, the water is brown, the sun is golden, but the surface of the river has no colour of its own.

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