Catchment Management Schemes The Answer To Water Resilience?
With news reports kicking around that the heatwave this summer could see water shortages affect the UK from spring next year, indicating just how much pressure the waterways in England are constantly under, there’s certainly no time like the present to review water management practices in order to help build up the country’s water resilience before it’s too late.
Writing for Business Green, James Elliot – policy adviser in the natural environment – suggested that catchment management schemes could be the answer, with companies increasingly turning to these as a strategy and working alongside other organisations to manage water environment pressures at source, while enhancing habitats.
Steps include changing farming practices (for example, planting cover crops to drive down pollution) and focusing on natural infrastructure like woody debris dams and earth bunds.
The 2015-2020 period will see £200 million spent by water suppliers on these schemes, compared to the £60 million allocated from 2010 to 2015. That said, this is still just six per cent of total spend on environmental protection, Mr Elliot did observe.
He went on to write: “Moving more quickly in this direction would avoid significant costs: a large water company could spend £80m over 25 years upgrading its nitrate treatment plants to meet existing legal targets. But if agricultural pollution was dealt with at source much of this cost could be deferred or avoided altogether.”
Mr Elliot further noted that public and private spending needs to be aligned around complementary priorities for water management – and this simply cannot happen soon enough. The government spent years between 1995 and 2015 encouraging agriculture by spending £37 billion on direct payments to farmers – and this made pollution worse.
Over the same timeframe, water suppliers spent £20 billion on environmental improvements, which included cleaning up the pollution in our waterways.
“The ultimate prize is a water environment in the UK which provides clean and plentiful water, supports wildlife in healthy habitats, and protects communities from drought and flooding. Regardless of whether the water industry is public or private in future, the next year is a golden opportunity to bring about a positive change in how we manage water,” Mr Elliot concluded.
If you’ve been reading up about the global water crisis and want to do your bit as a business here in England, it might be worth getting in touch with a water management consultant to see what can actually be achieved.
Water wastage is a big issue but one that can be resolved with a little time and effort. An audit can help you see if you have any leaks in need of repair, while also helping you to manage your water usage in such a way as to ensure your bills are as low as possible.
Benefits include early water leak detection, correct future bills, the possibility of claiming money back on previous water bill errors and online water bill management.