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Water-Power in Great Britain

Nature volume 101, pages 186187 (09 May 1918) | Download Citation



THE absence of co-ordination, and systematic control in regard to the water resources of this country has frequently been alluded to in the columns of NATURE when reviewing the voluminous reports and statistics issued by hydrologicai departments on the Continent and in the United States. It is satisfactory to observe that this regrettable indifference to a, matter of urgent national importance has at length become the subject of comment and discussion. At a meeting, of the Royal Society of Arts on January 23, Mr. Alexander Newlands, engineer-in-chief of the. Highland Railway, read a paper reviewing the, water-power resources of the United Kingdom (with special reference to Scotland), estimating their extent and economic value. He pointed out that the situation created by the war had intensified the national interest in questions of economic importance, and that the abuse and neglect of the natural resources of this country were now being closely investigated, as evidenced by the report of the Coal Conservation Committee. Coal is certainly at present, and will probably be for some time to come, our principal source of power, but it should not be overlooked that 1 cubic foot of water per second falling through 11 ft. can supply a horse-power unit to any modern turbine. The past neglect of the water resources of the country is, therefore, an economic waste which should not be tolerated any longer. Of a total of 101/2 million horse-power generated in industrial engines in 1907 in Great Britain and Ireland, only about 180,000, or 1.6 per cent., was attributable to water.

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