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  • Richard

Where did that year go to ...?

So long without posting - many family health challenges, much hospital visiting etc. With, in the time available, my main focus being on water and sanitation history issues, local and national, trying to better understand 'effective societal demand' for improved watsan. That is trying to investigate actual demand, as opposed to supply led (international donor) demand, particularly in rural areas. So, completely renewing the data on water and sanitation Capex in England and Wales from 1850 through to the present - with a forward look incorporating the water companies' present business plans, now under investigation by regulator Ofwat, to ensure climate resilience in the future. I'm hoping to submit that for presentation at the upcoming WEDC Conference.

And then two more papers in preparation for publication - the first considering the history of sanitation development in Ampthill Rural District with the fascinating interplay of the use of pit privies, earth privies ('ecosan'?), closet pails (CBS?) and sewerage, getting to full sewerage (supported by septic tanks) only at approx $20,000 GDP per person (USD$ PPP 2020 prices). With, from this perspective, the remarkably systematic and logical progression from one level of service to another, that process taking 60 years to actually commence from the early reformer Edwin Chadwick's remarkable survey of sanitary conditions, mainly urban but also including Flitwick and Toddington from Bedfordshire:

“The medical officer of the Woburn union states, in respect to Toddington, that: 'In this town fever prevailed during the last year, and, from the state of the dwellings of the persons I called on, this could not be wondered at. Very few of the cottages were furnished with privies that could be used, and contiguous to almost every door a dung heap was raised on which every species of filth was accumulated, either for the purpose of being used in the garden allotments of the cottagers, or to be disposed of for manure. Scarcely any cottage was provided with a pantry, and I found the provisions generally kept in the bed-rooms. In several instances I found whole families, comprising adult and infant children with their parents, sleeping in one room.'" (1842 Report on the Sanitary Condition of the Labouring Population of Great Britain).

The second paper to consider the history of rural water development in central Bedfordshire, again in the context of the urban improvements (much earlier), and to bring out the extent to which the rural water supply 'insitutional evolution' has been so dependent upon the growth in demand leading to the need to develop through and beyond dependence upon groundwater to ever more sophisticated, and distant, surface water resources.

Should be fun to write and, hopefully, interesting to read.

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