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The South West is running out of water

  • by J.W.

Most people believe we have more than enough water because Britain is so wet.

But climate change is leading to hotter drier summers so there’s less resource and higher demand.


During the last few weeks, we’ve been using more water, and that’s a problem:

South West Water customers could see taps run dry as usage rockets during lockdown |

And SWW have been sending out letters to all their customers:

Saving water in your home and garden |

The Telegraph’s Hattie Garlick tells us how to reduce our addiction:

Today, however, I read statistics about the global water crisis and cringe. By 2050, at least one in four people will live in a country affected by chronic or recurring fresh-water shortages, yet here I am, steeping in my third bath of the week.

Lockdown only deepened my addiction. With two children, husband, dog and cat in the house together all the time, the bath has become my only escape. For the past three months it has been my spa, my therapy coach, my bar and library (what, you don’t take books and booze into the bath?).

It has to stop. My roomy bath holds almost 100 litres – 10 litres short of my total sustainable daily water allowance. The average person has 1.3 baths a week, making it roughly achievable to stick to the goal. I, on the other hand, have recently been having one a day. Add to that the children’s daily scrub-down, my husband’s shower, the dog’s hose-downs, all the laundry loading, the brushing, flushing and dishwashing… Our house is a constantly gushing tap. We need to turn it off. 

Why is my family wasting water? |

As the Express reports, this is difficult for most of us to fathom:

FAMILIES could suffer dire water shortages in less than 25 years unless the nation turns off its wasteful habits, the industry warned. A survey has shown most people believe we have more than enough water because Britain is so wet.

But the South-east – our most densely populated region – gets less rain than some parts of East Africa. Experts say demand will outstrip supply rapidly due to population growth, more household usage and climate change with wetter winters but drier summers. The survey by Love Water, which includes the industry and the Environment Agency, was released yesterday after the wettest February and one of the driest Mays.

British families could face water shortages within a generation, the industry warns | Nature | News |

And a parliamentary committee says pretty much the same:

In a report published today, Thursday 9 July 2020, the Public Accounts Committee says all the bodies responsible for the UK’s water supply – Defra, Ofwat and the Environment Agency – have “taken their eye off the ball” and must take urgent action now to ensure a reliable water supply in the years ahead. It concludes that the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) has shown a lack of leadership in getting to grips with all of the issues threatening our water supply.

England faces “serious risk of running out of water within 20 years” – News from Parliament – UK Parliament

Today’s Express reports on further warnings:

GIANT paddling pools are threatening drinking water supplies as the climate warms, experts say. Scientists in the industry have criticised the use of paddling pools which can hold a week’s worth of water for a family of four.

Miranda Foster, a senior hydrologist at Yorkshire Water, said it may even be necessary to restrict the use of paddling pools to protect supplies, but admitted a ban would be impossible to police. She said: “Paddling pools are a genuine concern. There are some paddling pools that are ridiculously big. One paddling pool can hold a week’s worth of water for a family of four.

“Climate change is leading to hotter drier summers so there’s less resource and higher demand. The widespread use of paddling pools increases the likelihood of drinking water running out. There’s a general perception that water is from the sky and it’s free, and there’s a lot of it, what’s the problem? But we need more education and understanding. People aren’t aware of the consequences. If they were, they would have water butts in their gardens and they wouldn’t go to Argos and buy giant paddling pools. You can buy giant paddling pools for 50p – which is wrong.”

Fears rise the UK will run out of water because of ‘ridiculous’ pools | UK | News |