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Government Scores Poorly On Tackling Drought Risk

6th November 2012

The risk of flooding and water shortage in 2013 has increased because the Government is too slow in changing the way we manage our water, environmental leaders warn.

The authors of the 'Blueprint for Water' report say that after two dry winters, it took Britain's wettest ever summer to narrowly avert a serious drought. They warn that despite this summer's flooding, another series of dry winters would put Britain right back under serious risk of drought.

The group of 16 leading environmental organisations has published a scorecard which measures the Government's performance against the 10 steps to sustainable water by 2015. The scorecard commends the Government's commitment to tackle unsustainable abstraction of water from rivers and wetlands, extend the use of metering at a fair price and to develop a catchment based approach to managing the water environment. But a lack of actual progress on the ground or in legislation in many areas means the Government fails to score higher than a 'C' grade for any area of work (see full scorecard below).

The organisations says a long-term, sustainable approach is needed, one which works with our natural water systems. For example, we need to use moors, marshes and plants to store and clean rain water, instead of allowing it to run straight into rivers and thus increase the risk of flooding.

Chair of the Blueprint for Water coalition, Carrie Hume said:

"Lack of action to fix our broken water system is a false economy. We cannot continue to lurch between flooding and drought which is damaging for people, businesses and wildlife.

"The Government rightly recognises it's our own over-use of water and interference with natural water flows which has put us in this mess, but it needs to back its words with action.

"We need to use natural filters like marshes, reeds and moors to regulate water flow and stop flooding. We also need to regulate our own water use through universal metering at a fair price and by reducing pollution and over-abstraction of water by industry and farming.

"In the context of climate change and population growth the challenges are enormous, and Government is best-placed to drive the changes which we all need to make. It needs to start acting quickly if we are to give our most precious natural resource a sustainable future."

The 2010 Blueprint for Water was launched in November 2010 and to monitor progress the Government is scored every two years on its progress. The 2012 progress report summary is attached below:

Ends

Notes to Editors:

  •  For more information and to view the Scorecard report in full, please go to www.blueprintforwater.org.uk
  • The Blueprint for Water coalition is a unique group of environmental, water efficiency, fishing and angling organisations which call on the Government and its agencies to set out the necessary steps to achieve "sustainable water" by 2015. The Blueprint for Water is a campaign of Wildlife and Countryside Link. The 16 Blueprint for Water coalition members are: Amphibian and Reptile Conservation; Angling Trust; Buglife; Freshwater Biological Association; Friends of the Earth; Marine Conservation Society; National Trust; Pond Conservation; The Rivers Trust; RSPB; Salmon & Trout Association; Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust; Waterwise; The Wildlife Trusts; Woodland Trust; and WWF.

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