Readers' letters - August 7

Many new houses but where will their water come from?
A reader asks: Where will extra water be held?A reader asks: Where will extra water be held?
A reader asks: Where will extra water be held?

I have read about water leaks, usage and the weather. This is the first drought that we have experienced for several years. It comes during a period where water companies are completing several flood defence systems to ensure fewer homes and businesses are blighted by constant flooding.I have long held the opinion that we are not short of water in the UK. We are, however, extremely short in reservoir capacity. With the exception of Kielder reservoir in Northumberland, I’m struggling to think of any major increase in capacity to hold water in recent years.We are in the middle of a drought year. Yet it is only four months ago that it never stopped raining for weeks. We also had a good fall of snow during the winter and spring. During this period, our rivers were bank top high with excess water that just flowed out to sea day after day. Yet here we are struggling for water and a hosepipe ban has only recently been called off.Reservoirs silt up by natural process year on year, thus reducing capacity to half of what they were built to hold.If Government figures are to believed, 300,000 new homes are to be built every year to meet growing demand. All of these homes will have washing machines and dishwashers, not to mention showers and hose pipes to wash hundreds of thousands of cars. Yet I’m unaware of any programme of increased holding capacity to meet this growing demand.Can someone enlighten me as to where all this much needed water will be held to supply all these houses, especially since we are told that long hot summers are to become more of the normal rather than the exception?Chris RamusAddress supplied

Learn from NorwayI have recently fully retired after a 35-year career in teaching.Fortunately the last four years were only part-time. The monitoring and data-driven culture that has grown ever more monstrous over the past two decades is nothing short of a national tragedy. If we could demonstrate that the quality of learning by our young people had risen as a consequence of this misguided approach, then there might just be a valid counter-argument.Yet virtually the whole profession knows that this is not the case. All schools have got better at is teaching to tests, which destroys the love of learning and it often destroys the lives of teachers. We are now starting to hear mollifying words from politicians who finally seem to realise that they created a hideous mess that serves nobody well. It will, however, need root and branch change across the whole system and I would suggest we should start by learning from countries where education is working well, particularly the Nordic nations. Ian RichardsonAddress suppliedFree help with will-writing

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With the new academic year approaching, there’s a feeling of fresh starts and new opportunity in the air, making this the perfect time to think about getting your affairs in order.This month Macmillan Cancer Support is offering a free will writing service, giving Wigan residents the chance to take charge of their will and think about the type of legacy they want to leave behind.Macmillan’s own research suggests that 62 per cent of people in the North West don’t have a will. This means almost two thirds of adults in the region are leaving their final wishes to chance by failing to prepare a will.Even if you have a will, it’s best practice to review it every five years to make sure it reflects your current circumstances and wishes.Although it’s not essential, we hope that those who use the service might consider leaving a gift to Macmillan in their will. In 2017, a total of £84.5m was left to Macmillan in people’s wills – making up almost a third of the charity’s income.Every penny helps Macmillan continue to help people with cancer live life as fully as they can, through services like the Macmillan Cancer Information and Support Centre at the Royal Albert Edward Infirmary.You can find out more about the free will-writing service this August at FordhamDirector of Legacies at Macmillan Cancer SupportCompatible smart meters?

Given the controversy over smart meters, can a politician task an engineer with coming up with a device that is compatible with all energy suppliers?If not, it makes a mockery of attempts to get people to switch to keep bills in check.Andrew Mercervia email