Sunday, December 28, 2008

Running dry, running out

Juliette Jowit, the Guardian (UK): Nearly half of the population in England and Wales now live in areas of "water stress" where supply might not keep up with demand - a problem usually associated with parched regions such as north Africa and the Middle East. The huge pressure on water supplies from large and wealthy populations in areas with relatively low rainfall is detailed in the most comprehensive report yet on the state of water resources by the Environment Agency.

The report, which will be published in the new year, warns that many rivers, lakes, estuaries and aquifers are already being drained so low that there is a danger to wildlife and a risk to public supplies in dry years, especially as climate change brings drier summers while the population is increasing. People are also using far too much water ...

The agency will use the report to argue for aggressive increases in the number of homes with water meters to reduce demand, and will support proposals by water companies to spend billions of pounds on infrastructure projects such as reservoirs and desalination plants to improve supplies and protect the environment. It is also expected to argue for a new system of regulation under which companies would be allowed to earn more profit if they reduced demand, a system pioneered in California and already being considered for UK energy companies….

A log spanning the River Dove in Farndale, Yorkshire Moors, shot by Klaus with K, Wikmedia Commons, under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2

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