Water – the new oil (and food!)
DESPITE a drought order in much of the UK – announced just before we got the wettest April on record – it did make me wonder about the future of water and how important it will become in all aspects of life.
At the heritage railway to which I am involved, we have just completed a stock shed which, among the obvious usefulness of keeping rolling stock out of the rain, includes a rainwater harvesting system that captures rain from the various roofs and channels it to a holding tank away from the location. A similar scheme will also be part of the next phase of carriage shed building. It’s a great way of helping to get local councils to approve and support your project if you are shown to be thinking about such things, especially if you are in a residential area.
Whether you are a global warming/climate change sceptic or not, we are certainly getting some ‘different’ weather and cannot rely on the shoulder seasons being dry.
Our commiserations must go to the organising committees of Rushden, Stoke Goldington, Lambourn and Bill Targett rallies who all got showfields that were so soggy as to make rallying impossible and were duly cancelled.
The ‘drought’ has caused much amusement on the Traction-Talk website among engine owners, particularly regarding water officials and suited water company spokesmen on the telly. “Just bring your engine to Tewkesbury and leave the mudhole open – she’ll soon be full,” says Steve Lake.
Then mid-April came a frothing press release from the Steam Car Club of GB stating that “following discussions with us, water board officials have confirmed to us in writing that steam car owners may continue to use a hosepipe to fill steam car tanks because using a hosepipe to fill a steam car was not written in as a breach of usage in the original legislation that is used to enforce hosepipe bans”. When pressed for clarification the reply came that they do “have an official letter from a water board together with a signature – a general statement that is true for all water boards”.
Full size engines do not take to the roads without carrying ample water supplies or hydrant equipment and planning water stops in advance. David Smith of NTET Technical Services, is quoted in the latest Steaming on the effects that poor hydrant operation can have on others that rely on the highest quality water and that anti-terrorism Acts now consider water to be a food and any cause of contamination could have serious consequences for the errant hydrant operator. Keep compliant hydrant equipment of small bore pipework and double check valves thatare clean and free from engine oils and other contaminants and only take water from a roadside hydrant as a last resort.
Police and traffic wardens and the like are usually helpful and understanding when you politely explain to them that your engine could make a very loud bang if it doesn’t get a drink…
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Current Issue: June 2013
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