Midweek Sport - - NEWS -

CLI­MATE change and a ris­ing pop­u­la­tion mean that Eng­land is fac­ing the ‘jaws of death’, where de­mand for wa­ter could sur­pass the sup­ply avail­able in the next 25 years.

Sir James Be­van, 59, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the En­vi­ron­ment Agency, said the UK could have a wa­ter short­age by 2044.

Speak­ing be­fore the Water­wise con­fer­ence in Lon­don, he added that wa­ter leak­age was also to blame for the loss of wa­ter in the UK.

In Eng­land and Wales, a third of wa­ter comes from aquifers, un­der­ground sources, with this fig­ure be­ing at six per cent for North­ern Ire­land and three per cent for Scot­land.

The rest comes from reser­voirs, lakes and rivers.

Be­van said: “We need wa­ter wastage to be as so­cially un­ac­cept­able as blow­ing smoke in the face of a baby or throw­ing your plas­tic bags into the sea.”


Out­lin­ing po­ten­tial meth­ods of avoid­ing the dis­as­ter, Be­van said that peo­ple need to cut daily wa­ter use by a third, from 140 litres to 100 litres, over the next 20 years.

While wa­ter com­pa­nies need to to cut down leak­age from their pipes by 50 per cent.

Cur­rently, the UK loses more than three bil­lion litres of wa­ter a year to leak­age, be it in­di­vid­ual or from wa­ter com­pa­nies.

Be­van high­lighted the need for more reser­voirs, more de­sali­na­tion plants and more trans­fers of wa­ter across the UK.

The build­ing of new mega-reser­voirs is seen as con­tro­ver­sial, but Be­van be­lieves it is the ‘right thing to do’.

By 2040, sum­mers are ex­pected to be hot­ter than ever, with more than half see­ing tem­per­a­tures higher than the 2003 heat­wave.

WA­TER WORRY: We could soon go short

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