East Midlands water scarcity warning

Experts have warned against believing that a wet summer has helped alleviate water scarcity in the East Midlands.

This was the message at a briefing held by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) East Midlands region, which discussed the findings of the Institution’s State of the Nation report into water resource management, published earlier this year.

In the report, ICE rated the UK’s current water security level as 4 on a 1-10 scale.

More than 50 senior engineers, as well as key local influencers and decision makers, including local authority cabinet members, attended the event at IGEM House, Kegworth.

Matt Crabtree, a Water Sector Director from Costain and member of ICE’s Water Panel, highlighted the problems facing the region.

He warned that by 2050, the current level of water availability will have reduced by two thirds due to factors which include population growth and climate change.

He outlined ICE’s response to the issue: creating a ‘UK Water Security Taskforce’, led by the government and consisting of senior figures from the water and environment sectors to develop and oversee a water security roadmap by 2014 with the aim of making the UK water secure by 2025.

ICE is also calling for universal water metering, complemented by discretionary and social tariffs, which empowers the public to use water more effectively and also protects those most vulnerable to impacts of water scarcity.

Also addressing the gathering was Neil Corrigall, Regulatory and Business Strategy Manager – Severn Trent Water.

Neil outlined the issues involved in water trading – moving water from areas with excess water to areas of water scarcity.

Neil commented: “Water trading is not a silver bullet solution but one of a number of options which need to be considered if viable to tackle the urgent problem of the UK’s water security.