Future supply will be determined by availability of water but Stewardship and Conservation should be the norm.Recycling,reducing and reusing must be promoted.
Britain as a whole has more water than it is ever likely to need but much of the water is in the wrong place - areas with the greatest resources are not the areas of highest demand.
Wales has a considerable amount of water but much of it is heavily committed to Welsh needs, or to the needs of the north-west and the west Midlands in England. However, there is the potential in Wales for more storage of water if necessary.
England has areas with a surplus of water, such as the north-east, and areas of water deficiency, mainly in the south-east, where part of the supply depends on transfer from other areas. We have seen that in England and Wales the total amount of water abstracted has generally increased since 1993.
Scotland has sufficient water resources for all foreseeable circumstances and has not experienced droughts. An enormous amount of additional water could be made available by reservoir storage in the Highlands.
To understand how this demand could continue to be met in the future we need to look at the water supplies by region.
The areas most at risk of future shortages are the Anglian, Thames and Southern regions, areas with low surpluses that depend heavily on groundwater supplies. If groundwater is not recharged sufficiently in winter, as happened in the winters of 1995 and 1996 this may leave insufficient groundwater for extraction during the summer, and may reduce river discharge by a reduction of baseflow.
In 2001 the Environmental Agency (EA) published its strategy for water resources up to 2025 in England and Wales. The EA stated that its vision was:
"Abstraction of water that is environmentally and economically sustainable, providing the right amount for people, agriculture, commerce and industry, and an improved water-related environment."
The EA strategy recognised that:
• in much of England and Wales, water is a scarce resource
• the public water supply provision should be increased by 1.1 × 106 m3 per day
• efficient use of water is essential
• leakage should be reduced.
Agriculture should use available water to the best effect, as in many agricultural areas little further summer water is available. This will involve increased winter storage of water and a change in crops.
Most of the EA recommendations for enhancing water resources involve making the most of existing schemes - the inflexible and environmentally destructive days of immediately commissioning new reservoirs seem to be over. The strategy generally recommends:
• increasing winter storage (making use of the wetter winters of climate change predictions), by enlarging existing reservoirs in the south and east, increased conjunctive use in the north-east, and a possible new reservoir in the Thames catchment
• inter-regional transfers, such as the possibility of a Severn-Thames transfer
• utilising rising groundwater in London and Birmingham
• greater re-use of sewage effluent.
Scenarios and strategies have been developed on a regional basis as well as nationally, with targets for regional resource developments and demand management. All regions have identified some resource developments, water savings targets and environmental improvements, but the proportion varies with the situation and need: most of the growth in demand is in the south and east.
For example, the Thames region, for example, has a target for resource development of 0.59 × 106 m3 per day, and water savings of 0.75 × 106 m3 per day, whereas the North West region has a target for resource development of 0.035 × 106 m3 per day, and water savings of 0.016 × 106 m3 per day.