Until recently, we have not worried greatly about the water supply in the UK. The country is renowned for its rainfall, and flooding is not unusual. So why are water companies now so worried about water deficit and drought?
The simple answer is our uneven weather patterns. We are moving towards hotter and drier summers and the greater demand for water that comes with them, and unfortunately, there will be less water available for use. By 2050, the amount of our drinking water available in the UK could be reduced by 10-15%. In the hotter summers, there could be 50-80% less water in the rivers. Conversely, we get periods of very heavy rain falling in a short period of time which the rivers and ground cannot cope with, and that is why we end up with flooding.
Therefore, the need to save and store water produced in the wetter months for use in the drier months becomes crucial.
Building new reservoirs is the most obvious solution to the need to store water. However, reservoirs take up a lot of space, and plans to build large reservoirs in recent years have met with stiff opposition, with people arguing the damaging effects on wildlife. In fact, it’s been 30 years since the last large reservoir was built in the UK.
Despite this, water companies continue to put plans forward for new reservoirs. As Hannah Stanley-Jones from Anglian Water told the BBC, by 2050 there could be a water deficit of hundreds of millions of litres a day:
"It is absolutely crucial that we act now to reduce that deficit. Our water supplies are under pressure from a growing population, and from climate change and the need to protect the environment and make sure we're not abstracting from the environment in sensitive locations, such as abstractions that could impact our chalk streams.”
Anglian Water is currently working on plans to build two new reservoirs that will provide enough water for 750,000 homes. Even if the plans are passed, it could be the late 2030s before they are able to supply drinking water.
While Anglian Water’s plans are still in the works, in Portsmouth, the go-ahead has been given to the UK’s first major reservoir in decades. Portsmouth Water’s Havant Thicket Reservoir has been designed not just to provide water to the local community, but also to provide environmental and leisure facilities for people. Work began on construction in October 2021 and is scheduled to be completed in 2029.
At Castle Water, we support our customers to become more water-efficient and sustainable by providing free advice and resources. By taking the smallest of steps now, you’ll be making a big difference in the long run to avoid potential water shortages in the future. Use our free online resources to engage with your employees and encourage cultural changes that result in less water being used:
If you’d like to talk with someone about getting a better deal on your business water bills, speak to one of our advisors on webchat, or give us a call on 01250 718 700.
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