National Audit Office: Water supply and demand management

The government must take more concerted action now to prevent parts of southern England running out of water within 20 years, according to a National Audit Office (NAO) report published today.

The country’s total water supply is forecast to drop by 7% by 2045 because of climate change and the limits of sustainable abstraction.1 Almost all of the public water supply is obtained through abstraction from ground and surface water sources, but abstracting too much water can lead to physical changes that reduce biodiversity.

Even at current levels of average rainfall, a reduction of 480 million litres per day of water consumption is needed nationally within 25 years to restore abstraction to sustainable levels. Drier weather is forecast to further reduce water supplies by 600 million litres per day. Taken together therefore, water sourced through abstraction nationally each day is due to decline by over a billion litres over the next 25 years. This means that, without action, some parts of the country – particularly the South East – will run out of water.

See the full report here