England faces ‘a serious risk of running out of water within 20 years,’ according to a new report published by the Public Accounts Committee.
In the report which was published today (July 10), the committee says that all bodies responsible for the UK’s water supply – Defra, Ofwat and the Environment Agency must take urgent action to ensure that the UK has a reliable water supply in the future.
According to the report, over 3 billion litres are lost to leakage every single day, this is a fifth of the total water used.
To tackle this, the committee is calling for Defra to produce an annual performance league table for water companies, holding them accountable in their progress to tackle their leakage targets.
The authors of the report also stated that the government has failed to be clear with water companies on how they should balance investment in infrastructure with reducing customer bills.
They outline that the government should provide more guidance to water companies on the level of investment needed to ensure adequate water supply.
The authors also highlight that the government currently relies on water companies to promote the importance of reducing water consumption, but with each company adopting different approaches there is no coherent national message.
Therefore they are calling on Defra to develop a plan, with adequate funding, to increase public awareness of the need to save water.
Meg Hillier MP, and chair of the committee, said: ‘It is very hard to imagine, in this country, turning the tap and not having enough clean, drinkable water come out – but that is exactly what we now face.
‘Continued inaction by the water industry means we continue to lose one-fifth of our daily supply to leaks.
‘Empty words on climate commitments and unfunded public information campaigns will get us where we’ve got the last 20 years: nowhere.
‘Defra has failed to lead and water companies have failed to act: we look now to the Department to step up, make up for lost time and see we get action before it’s too late.’
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