NDG: Now’s The Time To Preserve Water Supplies
The National Drought Group (NDG), which is made up of experts from the Environment Agency, the Met Office, water companies and farming and environmental groups, has emphasised the point that now is the time to start preserving water to shore up supplies in the event of dry spells in the future.
Highlighting the importance of not solely relying on the weather alone to protect the country against drought at its most recent meeting, the organisation noted that it is now readying itself for the worst case scenario of hot and dry conditions once again this summer.
As such, it is now taking steps to manage water resources appropriately in order to reduce the risk of drought. It was noted that although much of the country is in a better position than in 2022, East Anglia and Devon and Cornwall are still both classified as being in drought status.
Although we saw the driest February in three decades earlier in the year, this was followed up by the wettest March in 40 years, with total reservoir capacity across the country at the beginning of April peaking at 94 per cent.
In September last year, total capacity was at 49 per cent, which is when reservoirs were at their lowest after the drought conditions seen during the summer.
Discussions centred on how water companies now must reduce water leakage rates across their catchment areas, as well as driving down water consumption and finding new ways to increase drought resilience. This, in turn, will build on the government’s new Plan for Water, which details how drought resilience can be achieved to ease pressures on water supplies.
Furthermore, the NDG considered how the farming sector in particular could improve drought resilience to secure water availability for the future and support food security.
The Environment Agency is also now concentrating its efforts on monitoring how well invertebrates and fish species are recovering from the drought we saw last year, with the natural environment still needing time to recuperate from the events of summer 2022.
John Leyland, NDG chair and executive director of the Environment Agency, said: “Whilst water levels have improved across most of the country, a dry February followed by a particularly wet March has highlighted that we cannot rely on the weather alone to preserve our most precious resource ahead of summer.
“This is why the Environment Agency, water companies and our partners continue to take action to ensure water resources are in the best possible position both for the summer and for future droughts. We all owe it to the environment and wildlife to continue to use water carefully to protect our precious rivers, lakes and groundwater.”
Rebecca Pow, water minister, made further comments, saying that although the recent rainfall we saw in March would have come as a welcome relief to many, the drought situation should still be approached cautiously, since the water network is still facing increasing pressure from various quarters.
Discussing the Plan for Water, Ms Pow observed that the measures will help ensure that key water supply infrastructure like reservoirs can be built more efficiently, which will help increase long-term drought resilience around the country.
Furthermore, it is now expected that water companies will ramp up their own efforts to tackle leakages across the network and to adapt to changes in weather patterns now and in the future.
What can businesses do?
For businesses of all kinds, operating in all sectors and industries, the case for reducing their water footprint couldn’t be clearer. Water underpins every aspect of 21st century society and it’s highly likely that your business relies on it in some form or other, either directly for your operations or indirectly somewhere across the supply chain.
It’s also important to note that consumers are becoming increasingly eco-conscious and aware of brand environmental impact, so you may find that you start to lose out on custom if you don’t prioritise sustainability in the future.
The good news is that there’s a lot that can be achieved if you do want to reduce your water usage and consumption – and a great first step to take is to have a water audit carried out.
Knowledge is power, as they say, and it’s likely that you’ll find it hard to focus your efforts in the right places if you don’t first gain in-depth knowledge of how and where your business uses water.
A water audit survey involves comparing your water use, including volumes, against what you’re being charged for. This will highlight any inconsistencies that may have led to you being billed incorrectly, as well as allowing you to find the best strategies for reducing water usage and thus lowering the associated charges.
From there, you could consider making use of automated meter reading technology, which tracks your hourly water flow over the course of ten years so that any spikes in usage are identified immediately. This would suggest that there’s a leak somewhere onsite, allowing you to find the problem far sooner and helping you to prevent wastage and water damage.
One of the best ways to make a significant reduction in water usage is to prioritise leak detection and repair, in fact. In England alone, three billion litres of water are lost to leaks each and every day – and you may well have them onsite and simply be unaware that they’re trickling away, costing you money and wasting precious resources.
If you’d like to find out more about how to go about being more water efficient as a business, get in touch with the SwitchWaterSupplier.com team today to see how we can help.