The Cornish Times received a letter from Hugh Lowe, Bristol, it said:

"Further to your article of May 17 on desalination. 

"A new desalination plant may well be necessary in the face of likely future severe droughts, climate change and population growth. 

"The new plant will come at a significant cost in terms of power requirements and carbon footprint. The two plants will provide a stated maximum of 60 million litres of water per day (60000 cubic metre/ day). The power required per day equates to 174 megawatt-hour – close to the electricity requirement of 22,000 households, assuming a total desalination power plant usage of 2.9 kilowatt per cubic metre of water. 

"Historically society has regarded water as a limitless resource of little value. There is considerable scope to make water savings in a wide range of activities: domestic, industrial and farming. A lot of these water conservation methods would come at lower cost than desalinisation. 

"The current charging system for domestic customers in England and Wales is either metered charging or unmetered fixed charges based on the rateable value of the property being charged. Around half of UK households are on water meters. Universal metering and more realistic (stepped) pricing based on quantity used would provide part of the solution towards securing future supply."