Water supply and demand management

Water shortages are an impending risk for the UK. Parts of the country face a significant risk from drought, while neighbouring regions have surplus water. In its 2017 climate change risk assessment, the Committee on Climate Change highlighted shortages in water supply as one of five priority climate change risks that needed stronger policies and urgent action. Research commissioned by the Committee estimated the demand for water in England will exceed supply by between 1.1 billion and 3.1 billion litres per day by the 2050s, depending on the extent of climate change and population growth. The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has overall responsibility for setting the policy and regulatory framework for water in England. Its policy has one overarching objective: “to ensure clean and plentiful water”. It expects water companies to provide resilient water supplies supported by robust water resource management plans.

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