Herald Opinion: We’re officially “in drought”

SPRING has barely sprung and yet already we have confirmation that a hosepipe ban is just weeks away. So, too, a hefty price increase from one of the big water companies in the south.

Yes, we do take fresh, clean water for granted and, yes, we have to accept that we can’t have it for free.

But it does seem a bit rich that in the year 2012, we are still being asked to contribute well above the rate of inflation to fund changes that will presumably guarantee our supplies, as well as get rid of our waste.

Don’t let us be told that our rainfall in the south-east is less than in other parts of the country. We know that.

And don’t let’s hear it blamed on the growing population in the south, or the spiralling number of houses needed to be supplied. Again, we’ve known that for years.

So now we find ourselves officially “in drought”. A ban on hosepipes means they cannot be used for “recreational” purposes. Watering cans and buckets are still allowed - for now at least - but the restrictions will cause problems to people with ponds, pools and fountains. Even washing a car will become more of a chore. People in breach run the risk of prosecution and a £1,000 fine. Just imagine the furore when the first of those is brought to court.

The price increase is coming from Southern, which provides waste water services to Eastbourne rather than supply.The company promises cleaner rivers and seas and says its investment is equivalent to a spend of £1,000 for every property in the region. That, in turn, is creating employment in a flat economy.

We’re thankful for the jobs, of course we are. But when the April rationing starts, people won’t be fools. And if the shortages gets worse and the other companies follow suit on prices, turning back that tide of anger will be a big ask.

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IN recent editions we have been quick to praise the young people of Eastbourne but this week we got a timely reminder not to overlook the town’s elderly population.

Despite being the grand old age of 82, plucky June Seccombe let her granddaughter give her a tattoo to help raise cash for Breast Cancer Research.

Despite some nerves she now says she is even considering getting another one done.

And let’s not forget Daphne Bernard who is planning a parachute jump for her 90th birthday. They are living proof that age is just a number.