Last edited 29 Mar 2019

The State of the Environment: Water Resources

On 23 May 2018, the Environment Agency published 'The State of the Environment: Water Resources', calling for action on water efficiency.

Described as the first major report on water resources in England, the report points to climate change and demand from a growing population as the biggest pressures on water and suggests that England could see significant supply deficits by 2050, particularly in the south east, unless action is taken to increase supply and to reduce usage and wastage.

It highlights problems with:

  • Unsustainable levels of water abstraction in more than a quarter of groundwaters and one fifth of rivers, leading to reduced flows which could damage local ecology and wildlife.
  • Leakage from water companies, estimated at 3 billion litres a day (enough water to meet the needs of 20 million people ).
  • Demand from industry.
  • Public consumption. The government’s 25 year environment plan sets an ambition to reduce individual water use (currently 140 litres per person per day) by working with industry to set a personal consumption target.

Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency said:

“We need to change our attitudes to water use. It is the most fundamental thing needed to ensure a healthy environment but we are taking too much of it and have to work together to manage this precious resource. Industry must innovate and change behaviours in order to reduce demand and cut down on wastage – and we all have a duty to use water more wisely at home. With demand on the rise, water companies must invest more in infrastructure to address leakage instead of relying on abstraction and the natural environment to make up this shortfall.”


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