Research by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology has had a significant input into a major Environment Agency (EA) report that highlights concerns about the future availability of water.
The EA published The State of the Environment: Water Resources this week, in which it warned that rivers and wildlife could be left without sufficient water unless action is taken to reduce use and wastage, plus increase supply. It said parts of England – particularly the south east - could see significant supply shortages by 2050.
In what the agency described as the first major report on water resources in England, it stated that climate change and demand from a growing population are the biggest pressures on the availability of water.
The State of the Environment: Water Resources referred to a number of pieces of research that have involved scientists at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH). This includes the Water Report Cards, a series of synthesis papers on evidence for change in the UK water environment. Several were led by CEH authors, including Jamie Hannaford, head of the hydrological status and outlooks group at CEH, who wrote the report card on long-term changes in UK river flows.
Mr Hannaford, who is also head of the National River Flow Archive based at CEH’s site in Wallingford, said: “This report heavily uses CEH’s science, with our trend assessments and projections underpinning a major position paper on the state of our water environment”
“Climate change, a growing population and increased demand – while at the same time ensuring there is enough water in our rivers for wildlife - mean there will be greater pressure on water resources in the future.
“Furthermore, recent major floods and droughts have underlined our vulnerability to hydrological extremes, which are projected to become more frequent and severe in a warming world”
- Hannaford, J. (2013). Observed long-term changes in UK river flow patterns: a review. Living With Environmental Change
- Acreman, M C and others (2009). A simple framework for evaluating regional wetland ecohydrological response to climate change with case studies from Great Britain. Ecohydrology 2:1-17.
- HR Wallingford (2015). CCRA2: Updated projections for water availability for the UK: Final report. Wallingford: HR Wallingford
- Watts, G and Anderson, M. (eds). (2016) Water climate change impacts report card 2016. Living With Environmental Change
For advice on how to save water in the home, garden and at work, see the Waterwise website.