In its first major report on water resources in England, the Environment Agency has warned of significant supply deficits by 2050 if businesses fail to ‘innovate’ and cut down on water wastage.
The State of the Environment report on water reveals that climate change and demand from a growing population are putting significant pressure on water availability.
The levels of water abstraction are already deemed “unsustainable” in more than a quarter of groundwaters and one fifth of rivers.
Meanwhile at the global level, scientists at NASA have warned that water availability is likely to be the biggest environmental challenge of the 21st century.
‘Industry must innovate’
Although much of the responsibility lies with water companies – who currently lose around 3 billion litres of water per day through water leaks – experts are also calling on wider industry to play their part to find ways to use water more efficiently.
More than a third of water taken from freshwater sources in England is used to supply industry.
Emma Howard Boyd, chair of the Environment Agency, said: “We need to change our attitudes to water use. It is the most fundamental thing needed to ensure a healthy environment but we are taking too much of it and have to work together to manage this precious resource.
“Industry must innovate and change behaviours in order to reduce demand and cut down on waste, and we all have a duty to use water more wisely at home.”
Since 2017 businesses have been able to switch water supplier, encouraging many suppliers to provide more proactive support on water efficiency to entice new customers.
Several resources are also available online to help companies take action including a six-step action plan from Business in the Community and the government’s Water Technology List (WTL).