UK water plans must look at long-term needs, says Assembly

According to the South East England Regional Assembly, it is too risky for national water plans to rely solely on residents using less water when providing for the region's long term needs. The plans, they say, must also help to deliver adequate water resources. Responding to consultation on the Environment Agency's national Water Resource Strategy for the next 25 years, the Assembly believes that the strategy needs to consider the South East's circumstances because it will need to deliver...

Nov. 1, 2007 -- According to the South East England Regional Assembly, it is too risky for national water plans to rely solely on residents using less water when providing for the region's long term needs. The plans, they say, must also help to deliver adequate water resources.

Responding to consultation on the Environment Agency's national Water Resource Strategy for the next 25 years, the Assembly believes that the strategy needs to consider the South East's circumstances because it will need to deliver significant growth in the next 20 years and it is a comparatively dry region. The Assembly stressed that the strategy:
• Needs to complement the South East Plan, a 20-year planning vision, and match its long term investment vision to help deliver growth including water resources eg new water reservoirs
• Can and should encourage residents to reduce water use1 and, in times of drought, to limit non-essential use eg water a garden, wash a car, fill a swimming pool etc
• Should have a greater focus on reducing carbon emissions when supplying and treating water, and help water companies to promote low carbon solutions eg avoiding high energy uses such as desalination where possible.

Assembly Chairman Cllr Keith Mitchell, said: "The South East region needs to deliver growth and this is bound to contribute to increased use of our water resources. We therefore need to tackle this from all sides. It is essential that the Environment Agency, the water companies and other groups work with the Assembly to help deliver the region's water needs in a timely and sustainable way."

He added: "The region also has a challenge in the face of climate change. South East residents are using less water than previous years but we should try to do better. It is about managing our need and our environment."

1. The South East's draft Regional Sustainability Framework sets a target of 135 liters per person per day by 2016. The Assembly's monitoring report 2005/06 states that unmetered households use 166 liters per person per day and metered households use 148 liters a day.

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Also see:
-- The Assembly's full response to the consultation
-- Environment Agency's Water Resource Strategy

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