Apologies again for the late discovery of today's column by Polly; I could not find it through www.guardian.co.uk's search feautre, and actually still can't as at the time of writing. It does, however, appear on CommentisFree here. She starts by saying:
Here global warming is measured by how often the steel gates are closed; in 1987, it was only once every two years: now it's four times a year, eight times more often.
You can see the detail here -- the figures are a lot noisier than you might think from this description. In fact, the barrier had to close six times in 1990, and not at all in 1991. Nine times in 1993 and only once in 1994. Only twice in 2004 and 2005, though this comes after 18 times in 2003.Later on she says:
If in 1987 the prudent designers of the Thames barrier built in expectation of global warming...Actually, if the designers of the Thames Barrier were building anything in 1987, I hope it was a time machine. According to the Environment Agency, "it becomae operational in 1982" (source). The Thames Barrier, I mean, not the time machine.
Of Thames Water, Polly says:
targets for fixing leaks have all been missed.Strangely, when we look at Ofwat's "Security of supply, leakage and the efficient use of water 2004/5" report (pdf link here), and the section on Thames Water (pages 39-40), we find quotes like:
The other positive aspect of the company’s performance in 2004-05 was that its area outside London had leakage performance in line with targets and at a level comparable to other companies in England and Wales.and
Thames’ quarterly progress reports actually showed it to be on target until a late winter leakage spike at the end of February 2005...and
This was the first objective achieved.I am not a big fan of Thames Water and their performance in finding and fixing leaks, but the picture is a little more nuanced than we are led to believe.