This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book. Water Storage & Irrigation Views on the Drought Summit

WWF is calling for the UK to become ‘drought smart’ - a drought smart water

management system along with a drought savvy population would mean that the UK is much less likely to have to deal with the serious impacts of drought.

Whilist the Water White Paper released in December 2011 contained some good proposals looking at key issues, such as abstraction licensing, without changes to legislation until 2015/6, the proposals are years away from being implemented.

The water companies have a massive part to play in raising awareness of how much water people actually use and advising people on how to save water and offering to install free water meters.

“If we are to avoid the spectre of drought becoming an annual event we must urgently change our approach to water management, taking a more strategic overview and focusing on preventative measures for addressing scarcity before it gets to drought stage. Introducing demand management measures, improving interconnectivity between water companies and better and more imaginative methods of storing winter water would be a good start to safe-guarding this precious resource for the future.”

ICE is doing a major report into the water sector in 2012 with the aim of giving Government expert advice and guidance on these types of issues.

The drought summit was welcomed by CIWEM, but they did warn against “knee-jerk calls” for

new large scale water infrastructure. Instead, they emphasise the importance of effective and timely drought management measures coupled with longer-term investment in widespread metering, water efficiency measures and a more sustainable approach to the planning of development in water stressed parts of the country.

People should not expect an unlimited supply of water at all times, and restrictions on water use such as temporary bans are part of a sensible range of measures that water companies should take during times of drought.

The water companies should not be criticised for introducing temporary bans where these are necessary, and there should be no financial penalty for appropriate use of restrictions.

CIWEM is concerned that people throughout the UK are insufficiently aware both of the possible impact of drought and the measures that they can take to help to reduce its effect. While it was understandable for water suppliers to be reluctant

to alarm their customers, it is important to understand that there can be a genuine risk to water supply.

In the longer-term, CIWEM emphasised the importance of accurate measurement of water use by all users, coupled with widespread utilisation of water efficient appliances, less wasteful water use behaviour and a more integrated way of managing water to make better use of it when in surplus through storage at all scales.

CIWEM Executive Director, Nick Reeves OBE, comented: “It is not as though we haven’t been warned. There is a vast body of evidence on climate change and its contribution to water stress is made worse by rising demand. The current drought conditions are yet another wake-up call for more urgent action on water efficiency, water metering and retro-fitting of water-saving devices.

“Public attitudes to water have got to change and the government must afford water a much higher priority in the planning of future developments, especially in water- stressed areas of the country. Let this Olympic year and the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee mark a commitment to investment in innovation in water management and more respect for a precious natural resource.”

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