The UK water industry is fully committed to delivering essential infrastructure and supporting the government’s National Infrastructure Plan. However, water supply and availability needs to be at the heart of our decision-making for communities, businesses and agriculture – we can no longer just assume water will be there when and where we need it.
Water companies will invest more than £40 billion in the next five years in programmes that will deliver economic growth, jobs and many health and environmental benefits.
There are huge pressures on the long-term water supply and wastewater services in the UK, including the impacts of climate change and the continuing growth in population. We need to think about water availability, how we plan and husband water and how we capture increasingly heavy winter rainfall as and when it comes.
Companies in the UK provide some of the highest quality drinking water in the world and treat millions of litres of used water a day, returning it safely to the environment. There is more we can do, certainly – further reduction of leakage is something customers are understandably very keen to see.
But when we are talking about building new communities, the first question we ask is not ‘Where is the water?’ but ‘Where is the economic growth?’, just assuming that the water will arrive – somehow.
Future pressures, future needs? Speech by Water UK Director of Environment Sarah Mukherjee
CIWEM seminar and debate: Farming and the Public Water Supply