England will run out of water in as little as a quarter century we’re told. To which the correct answer is, well, get on with it then. We are a rainy isle, or part of a group of them at least. There’s no shortage of the stuff falling from the skies. It’s how we manage what does that matters here.
One of us has extensive experience of living with average annual rainfall about half the UK’s. The place doesn’t run out of water although they’ve had to build a few dams around and about. There’s even enough to irrigate the crops. Another way to look at it is that England gets perhaps 33 inches of rain a year on average. That’s dang near a yard deep over the entire country. We should be able to manage that supply to meet our demand:
England is set to run short of water within 25 years, the chief executive of the Environment Agency has warned.
The country is facing the "jaws of death", Sir James Bevan said, at the point where water demand from the country’s rising population surpasses the falling supply resulting from climate change.
"Around 25 years from now, where those [demand and supply] lines cross is known by some as the 'jaws of death' – the point at which we will not have enough water to supply our needs, unless we take action to change things," Bevan told The Guardian, before a speech today at the Waterwise conference in London.
It comes after it emerged Britain’s water companies are working on new plans to pipe water from the mountains of Wales and the rainy North of England to densely populated regions in the South.
The plans could help to avoid expensive infrastructure investments such as building new reservoirs or desalination plants, which experts say will be needed to keep taps running in the South East.
The answer, obviously enough, being to build a few more pipes, reservoirs and possibly desalination plants.
This is what we have government for isn’t it? To handle these collective problems that can be forseen? Or are we instead going to be told that if we just stop burning coal she’ll be fine? The correct economic answer here being that if no coal is cheaper then let’s do that, if pipes are then that. We’ll even agree to a little redundancy and uncertainty as well. But as even the Stern Review has pointed out at least some adaptation is both going to be necessary and also cheaper than trying to rely entirely upon mitigation.