Water Shortage Predictions are Deeply Disturbing

So why is water shortage predicted by 2050?  Each person on average uses 137 litres per day, and with the current UK population, the water companies supply, daily, at least 1.2 billion litres of water. The water supply is managed by 27 different companies and by law, they must produce a Water Resource Management Plan that forecasts supply and demand and has a plan to describe how they will deliver water to the public for at least the next 25 years. Water companies across the UK collect, treat and pump water to users.

The water companies need to curb water leaks and of the 9,500 billion litres of freshwater extracted in 2016 (in England), three billion litres a day was lost through leaks from pipes, (although this represents levels down by a third since the peaking in 1994/95). The water that leaking through pipes is equivalent to about a fifth of the water in the system and is equivalent to the amount of water used by more than 20 million people on an average day. Households also waste vast amounts of water. In total, a third of water taken from the natural environment is wasted through leaks, treatment losses, and in the home.

Curbing water leakage by companies is essential to minimise damage to rivers and wildlife. Many of the sources of water supplies are already overstretched and, with climate change and a growing population, there is a severe concern of water shortage by the 2050s. Taking too much water out of the environment will also harm wildlife.

Action needs to be taken to reduce demand and increase supplies of water. Additional supply can be made available by reducing leakage in pipes, improving the water distribution network and building or developing new water supply infrastructure. Water companies can reduce consumption by helping householders use water more efficiently by implementing water meters.

Responding to the Environmental Agency’s prediction that the UK is on course for water shortages by 2050, Liberal Democrat Environment spokesperson Tim Farron said: –

The prospect of a water shortage is truly shocking, particularly as a significant amount of water is lost through leakages. Our natural resources are precious. However, none more so than water, vital for sustaining life on our planet.

“It is deeply disturbing that human error and a lack of long-term environmental planning are contributing factors to water shortages.

“The Liberal Democrats are pushing for environmental issues to be placed at the heart of government. The damage that we are inflicting on our environment is not without repercussions, and I can only hope that the Liberal Democrats’ call for change will not go unanswered.”


* Tahir Maher is a member of the LDV editorial team and the Chair of the English Party

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  • William Fowler 24th May '18 - 7:23am

    A good starting point for water bills is to get rid of the small standing charge if you have a meter and then have a very low rate for the first band of usage (set by the govn) and then have free market for the higher water users, making it very expensive to waste any water at consumer level.

    I get 210 litre water butts at £20 a pop from Wickes when discounted, approx six of these per person makes you self sufficient for water to flush the toilet (good exercise carrying buckets) and gardening, etc., and always good to be independent of the water company if the system crashes. I do have a filter to hand so could use the water for washing at a pinch but having got my water bill down to £7-8 a month I don’t really have the incentive. This compares to a neighbour who pays over a grand a year without a meter.

    To be fair, our of all the privatized companies, the water co’s seem to be the best run and fairest on price (if you have a meter). As far as possible, with stuff like solar panels, it would be great to see the govn move in the direction of making people independent of these large energy and water co’s.

  • Tahir Maher Tahir Maher 24th May '18 - 7:42am

    @William good to know

  • Neil Sandison 24th May '18 - 10:58am

    Tahir Mahir We dont need to wear horsehair shirts improve the performance of water companies but we do need a secretary of state with ambition for the industry and who is committed to setting up a national water grid. Severn Trent some years ago wanted to set up a grid to transfer water from Wales and the north of England where they get excess rainfall to the south where rivers run dry and shortages occur .This scheme was supported by by both environmentalist and nature conservationist . Sewage shouldnt be seen as a problem but as an oppertunity when blended with other organic waste it could produce a renewable energy source by anaerobic digestion and remove our reliance on imported gas products lets rethink the industry rather than clobber it with fines .

  • Tahir Maher Tahir Maher 24th May '18 - 3:46pm

    Neil thank you for your response very useful but I have not mentioned fining anyone

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