Place: Shower Cubicle in UK.

Object: Electric Shower Unit. ( Rated at 240 volts, 7.5 kW and 3 years old or thereabouts).

Problem: The Pressure Relief Device (PRD) had activated for the very first time and, in doing so, had released a small but powerful jet of water that issued forth from underneath the unit, an area never before noticed by those using it. This mini-torrent then proceeded in a generally downward direction towards the floor of the cubicle.

Free-flowing water and electricity are never looked upon as the best of companions and so the sudden appearance of this seemingly uncontrolled venting of H2O was viewed with considerable alarm.

But, in reality, the safety device (PRD) was only doing its job by preventing an excess of pressure building up inside the heating cylinder. Cleaning the shower head and then fitting a new PRD, which turned out to be just an extremely small rubber ball, soon fixed the problem and normal service was restored.

This seems to mirror the problem that Israelis and Palestinians have faced for decades. Pressure from somewhere inside the system builds up and, if no means are available to divert such an increase, the result is seen in continued violence and even greater loading onto a situation already burdened by too many years of high-stress operation. In other words, no provision has been made for the installation of a permanent safety valve; not, that is, unless another uncontrolled stream of liquid can be considered as doing much the same job.

Only here the outflow is always thicker than water. And red in colour.

Pressure relief device for a system badly in need of one.