UK launches new strategy to secure and maintain water supplies, reduce water pollution and tackle surface water flooding
The UK government has launched a new water strategy to help secure and maintain water supplies, reduce water pollution and tackle surface water flooding has been launched today by Environment Secretary Hilary Benn.
It will help cut water use through a combination of efficient technology, metering and tariffs, improve surface water drainage, and reduce pollution from homes, industry and farming.
Everyone in England relies on clean water for drinking, washing and cooking, so the water strategy is relevant to all of us.
An independent review will look at different methods of charging, including metering and tariffs, and make recommendations. Proposals include a fairer system which offers incentives to conserve water, and could mean near universal metering in water stressed areas before 2030. The review will also consider how to protect vulnerable groups, like those on low incomes and the elderly.
The environment secretary Hilary Benn said: "Climate change means that we will all have to value water more as we find a fairer way of paying for it.
“No one approach will work for all areas, but we must find ways of improving efficiency, and of reducing demand and wastage.
"Securing and maintaining water supplies is vital to the prosperity of the country and to the health of people and the environment. In some areas, current supplies are already unsustainable and this situation was exacerbated by the drought in South East England between 2004 and 2006.
"These pressures are going to get worse as the climate changes, the economy grows, and population increases. Combined with the need to reduce CO2 emissions from the water industry and from our use of hot water in our homes, this means that we must find ways of improving efficiency, and of reducing demand and wastage.
"No one approach will work for all areas, but we must find ways of improving efficiency, and of reducing demand and wastage. That’s what this strategy will help deliver.”
The strategy tackles pollution of rivers, lakes and streams. It includes a consultation on eliminating phosphorous from detergents, provides for greater work with farmers to reduce farm pollution and launches a consultation on managing surface water.
Surface water is not only a source of pollution. As last summer has shown it is central to managing flood risk in the context of climate change and other pressures.