The Environment Agency, together with partners across the water industry, have set out the action required to meet future water needs in the face of a changing climate.
The National Framework for Water Resources aims to ease the pressure on future water supplies with targets including cutting demand to an average of 110 litres per person, per day, by 2050; improving water efficiency across all sectors; working with water companies to halve leakage rates by 2050; and developing new supplies such as reservoirs, water re-use schemes and desalination plants. It also cites making it easier to move water where it’s needed through regional water transfers and cutting the use of drought measures that could impact the environment as key actions.
If further action is not taken, the Environment Agency said an additional 3.4bn litres of water could be needed per day to meet future demand for public water supply between 2025 and 2050.
Five regional groups, covering the North, West, East, West Country and South East, will bring together companies with key water users and stakeholders and be tasked with developing plans tailored to the specific needs of their individual area. The groups will publish the approach they will take to developing their plans in July 2020.
Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency, said: “If we don’t take action many areas of England will face water shortages by 2050. The National Framework for Water Resources is the step change required to ensure the needs of all water users are brought together to better manage and share resources. Collaboration is key if we are going to deliver the resilience and environmental enhancement we need.”