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 268.

    where else is our water going to come from if not rainfall?

    Collecting rainwater and using it is really not a taxing prospect. Following lots of regulations however is not only taxing, it is impossible! Less regulation and more common sense. This seems to be what America is voting on today so the election is going to be interesting.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 267.

    ...and they are planning to relax planning permission. So we can build on more green field sites! I'm going to have to stop reading the news at lunchtime. Its making me too miserable in the afternoons!

  • Comment number 266.

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

  • Comment number 265.

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

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 264.

    "UK water resources 'left to weather's mercy'"

    If you know about the water cycle then you must agree that there was never a more obvious headline in human history than this one

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 263.

    Yes this government is at fault over the state of our water supply,they either took part in the privatisation a la Ken Clark,Fallon etc. or support it re the whole of the Tories ! Giving away our utilities to Tory friends in the city was practical and financial suicide especially for water..

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 262.

    I have to say the privatized water companies should be forced to accept lower profits and re-invest that money instead in new reservoirs and processing plants. I can't help but wonder couldn't we take water out of some rivers before it gets brackish near the sea?

    Also if as last year the water runs low and they cannot provide a full service they should not be allowed to charge full rates.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 261.

    Some debate about privatisation on here.

    For water, it seems that:

    In public hands, set a price designed to break even. If a profit is made, return it to the public coffers.

    In private hands, set a price designed to make profit. If it is made, distribute it to the shareholders.

    It looks obvious which leaves more money for infrastructure investment, but perhaps that's just me.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 260.

    I honestly can’t believe that people are only just waking up to this fact. Water Shortages have threatened the UK, especially when we have a bit of a dry spell, and has done so for many years. Hopefully the so called ‘powers that be’ will wake up, smell the coffee and start thinking a little harder about the impending power production crisis too.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 259.

    Yet another failure of the rusty lady Thatchers privatisation programme.

    Now we have her off spring in office by default non elected and kept in power by Limp-Dems.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 258.

    It is the governments fault not to have made the greedy water companies collect the huge amount of water we have had, they wont spend on new resevoirs or diverting water to resevoirs or buildig pipelines to areas that need it from areas of plenty. another Tory cock up that Labour should have put right but Blair was almost a Tory.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 257.

    Article title should be 'English and Welsh water resources left to private company profit margins mercy'.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 256.

    "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"

    Forests do a great job for that.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 255.

    Should of said the government has left us at the mercy of the utility companies

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 254.

    Anyone even slightly surprised that our water companies do not work in the consumers' or country's best interests must be naive. They were formed by Tory privatisation and their first duty is to their shareholders, so it makes sense for them to allow supply to be low by inefficient infrastructure and charge more for what they sell. If an essential to life is subject the market that's what you get!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 253.

    The main reason for these problems is the excessive population , and the concreting and tarmacing of large areas . This leads to floods to due fast runoff , and less water is going into the ground to flow out slowly later on .
    Sorry to say that countries will have to match their populations in the future to natural resources , especially water.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 252.

    The availability of water in Kent is becoming critical and our Government really need to get to grips with the situation. Kent is the most 'water stressed' county in the UK. Long-term plans are needed before droughts cause an environmental disaster and leave our taps dry. CPRE and others have tried to get the message across; perhaps now the Ministers will listen.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 251.

    Why is anyone remotely surprised by this? If you put the most most vital resource to human life in private hands this is what you get. Coupled with the fact that you can't even choose which water company supplies you (hardly a free-market then), this is truly a Thatcher inspired disaster waiting to happen. For the tories to blame anyone but themselves is predictable but laughable.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 250.

    If you are in any doubt that the Draft Water Bill is anything other than an excuse to relax regulation and increase bills then Google Water for Life Whitepaper.

    And the phrase " extend the use of metering at a fair price" is shorthand for "Copy their friends in Gas and Electric by using false claims of impending shortages as an excuse to bleed the consumer dry"

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 249.

    As a nation we waste so much of our resources and water is just another example.

    Basic utilities should be in government hands to provide the BASICS for the population that voted them in!

    If we didn't waste and invested in the infrastructure then there would be more than enough for everyone.

    When mother nature decides to punish us, there is little that can be done.

    You reap what you sow.

 

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