UK water resources 'left to weather's mercy'

 
Flood waters of the Ouse The coalition says allowing conditions to lurch between drought and flooding is causing significant damage

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A new report blames the government for leaving the UK's water resources at the mercy of the weather.

The document from 16 leading environmental organisations says it took the wettest ever summer to avert serious drought.

It warns that another series of dry winters would put Britain back on drought alert.

The government said its draft Water Bill would build resilience into the UK's water infrastructure.

The Blueprint for Water report measures the Government's performance against 10 steps to sustainable water by 2015.

It applauds ministers' commitment to tackle unsustainable abstraction from rivers and wetlands, extend the use of metering at a fair price and develop a catchment-based approach to managing the water environment.

But it says ministers are still failing to produce a long-term, sustainable approach which works with our natural water systems.

The groups want much more use of moors, marshes and plants to store and clean rain water, instead of allowing it to run straight into rivers and thus increase the risk of flooding. This would help tackle droughts as well as floods.

The chair of the Blueprint for Water coalition, Carrie Hume, said: "Lack of action to fix our broken water system is a false economy. We cannot continue to lurch between flooding and drought which is damaging for people, businesses and wildlife."

The Blueprint for Water was launched in November 2010. The Government is scored every two years on its progress.

A spokesperson for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said: "We know we are facing increasing pressures on our water supply and that is why we have published a draft Water Bill that will build resilience into our water infrastructure by creating the conditions to encourage innovation and reduce demand.

"The draft Bill will reduce red tape and drive innovation in the industry making it easier for water companies to work together to ensure we have secure water supplies for the future."

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 168.

    Nationalisation? Getting all those +ve scores?
    Do we really want politicians and civil servants running the water industry? Remember the expenses scandal? Denis Macshane only last week? The rail franchise fiasco? The lack of accountability.
    Come on.
    Private companies may not be perfect but spare us from the politicians and the jobs-for-life bureaucrats.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 167.

    This site shows a country's internal and external waterfootprint.Try and find one developed EU country that is self sufficient in water

    http://www.waterfootprint.org/?page=cal/waterfootprintcalculator_national

    Just because it rains a lot doesn't mean we are self sufficient in water but this seems too difficult a concept for politicians to understand.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 166.

    105.
    Is that not the normal way of government thinking...let the good times roll ...today, and leave future governments to worry about old, leaky equipment! it's always been that way, look at our road surfaces.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 165.

    At a time of rapid climate change, when it's not entirely clear how this will affect water & energy resources (except it probably won't be beneficial!) why on *earth* do we allow essentials such as water & power supply to be controlled by foreign companies! Govts have sat idly by while utility companies are sold abroad. It's criminal what's been done to UK plc in the name of Market Forces worship.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 164.

    If OFWAT told all water companies that if they do not meet their leakage targets in any year the following year they must cut their prices by 5% or be taken back into public ownership with no compensation the problem would soon be solved. It is all about profit in the private sector not about service. Minds of CEOs need to be focused and this is only done by hitting the profit of their companies.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 163.

    I do hate to state the obvious... but more and more, we appear to be 'dangerously' leaving ourselves wide open to exploitation by the wealthy fat cats! ‘All’ utilities should be nationalised... even if it’s just to prevent the 99% from being held to ransom and robbed... yet again!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 162.

    Getting my own well this winter, and will install biodigester in next few years. The water companys are for proffit, its cheaper in the short and long term to say good bye to them. and of course better for the enviroment.
    So unplug from the mains

  • rate this
    -11

    Comment number 161.

    An Independent Scotland will happily sell water to England at reasonable rates if any future problems arise so there's nothing to worry about

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 160.

    maybe it is time to seriously think about desal plants,expensive initially yes,but if run properly could solve many of the probs for the uk,will have a lesser impact on the environment ie loss of habitat for wildlife inland. the pipelines are already in place in most areas where water is drawn from reservoirs,old vic system needs replacing & careful planning for development to prevent flooding

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 159.

    Perhaps if UK governments developed other parts of the country rather than just making the southeast richer and richer then the southeast may not be suffering from lack of water. Make other parts of the country more desirable for companies to do business and build the homes all over the country, especially in areas rich in water.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 158.

    So explain this to me again..

    Public money is going to be spent on ensuring a sustainable water supply owned by a private company so they can inevitably raise prices which the public have to pay.

    Didn't we just do this in the banking fiasco?
    We bailed out the banks with our money so they could charge us more for their services to recoup their losses.

    The system is all wrong.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 157.

    Sid (50). For goodness' sake, get real. How is it even slightly sensible to say that, since we don't have to walk miles for our water, we're OK? "Complacent" doesn't even get close. The fact that some impoverished countries have worse problems does nothing to address the ones we have.

    Tax relief on infrastructure improvements, with tax penalties for excessive wastage should go a long way here.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 156.

    @TC.

    Asking any politician to look ahead more than their 3 year term and take hard unpopular (read expensive) decisions that will actually benefit the country in the long term, is a complete waste of time.

    All they care about is keeping their job for the next 3 years and promise the earth to get it. You ask why politicians are so dumb - , we are the ones that keep re-electing them!

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 155.

    Thanks to a generation of non-planning and inaction. Our future energy requirements are in the same hands, with probably the same outcome - OK if the weathers not to bad.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 154.

    "A new report blames the government for leaving the UK's water resources at the mercy of the weather."

    Complete rubbish - most of the UK is fine, it is the south east of England that usually has problems because of the unbalanced way the UK economy has been allowed to develop by successive governments.

    The organisation behind this report is probably based in London.
    Some BBC research required.

  • Comment number 153.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 152.

    122. Iggy

    Keep meaning to get a Rainwater tank. They aren't expensive and it would do for watering the garden or washing the car.

    It's no one elses fault I haven't got one.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 151.

    i'll bet this turns into another tax on the ordinary hard worker, or will commerce be metered and charged at the same 'fair' rate???

  • Comment number 150.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 149.

    For years the nationalised water companies did not invest and then the water privatized companies have just milked them for profits. Water prices have been allowed to rise at above the rate of inflation it was claimed to fund improvements but in reality it was all about more profit. Make the companies pay this money back if they do not take them back into public ownership with no compensation.

 

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