Last edited 10 May 2016

Future Water, The Government’s water strategy for England

In 2008, the government published Future Water, The Government’s water strategy for England. The strategy was published as a response to the 2004-06 South East of England droughts and the floods of 2007. It set out the government’s vision for the water sector in 2030 and the measures proposed to help deliver that vision.

Future water front cover.jpg

In the Foreword, the then Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Hilary Benn said:

“In England, the average person uses about 150 litres of water a day – that’s about a tonne a week!... The South East and East of England already face increasing demand on a finite water supply. The drought of 2004-06 was only managed through controls on what we could use water for. This was not a one-off; indeed droughts are likely to be more common. By 2080, some long term climate projections forecast half as much rainfall in summer (nothing like fully offset by 30% more rainfall in winter) in the South East. We need to plan ahead and each of us needs to play our part…. We have, of course, not only to cope with too little water. Indeed the last year has been characterised more by too much water with serious flooding in many parts of the country. Sir Michael Pitt’s report into these floods shows that we still have lessons to learn as a country about defending ourselves from, and learning to live with, floods.”

The document describes ‘...a vision of a sector that values and protects its water resources; that delivers water to customers through fair, affordable and cost-reflective charges; where flood risk is addressed with markedly greater understanding and use of good surface water management; and where the water industry has cut its greenhouse gas emissions.’ This includes:

  • The sustainable delivery of stable water supplies.
  • Clean water available for nature, people and business.
  • An improved and protected water environment.
  • An improvement in canals, lakes, rivers and seas for people and wildlife which benefits angling, sailing and other recreational past times.
  • Appropriate water charging.
  • Action for flood risk through the appropriate use of good surface water management.
  • A reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the water sector.
  • An understanding and resilience to climate change including the likely increase in the frequency of droughts and flooding and the rise in population levels.

The document is divided into the following sections:

  • Ministerial Foreword.
  • Executive Summary.
  • Chapter 1 – Future water.
  • Chapter 2 – Water demand.
  • Chapter 3 – Water supply.
  • Chapter 4 – Water quality in the natural environment.
  • Chapter 5 – Surface water drainage.
  • Chapter 6 – River and coastal flooding.
  • Chapter 7 – Greenhouse gas emission.
  • Chapter 8 – Charging for water.
  • Chapter 9 – Regulatory framework, competition and innovation.
  • Chapter 10 – Summary of vision and actions.

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