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Help Stevenage defeat water scarcity from climate change and growth

A combination of a drier than average years, high water consumption and climate change means that our town and inhabitants need to take bold action to sustain our water supplies.

Climate change is what’s happening. It means that in Britain, we will have hotter and drier summers. By 2040, we expect more than half of our summers to exceed 2003 temperatures. This, combined with prolonged drier autumns and winters will mean more water shortages: by 2050, the amount of water available could be reduced by 10-15 per cent, with some rivers seeing 50-80 per cent less water during the summer months. It will mean higher drought risk, caused by the hotter drier summers and less predictable rainfall.

Compounding the problem, the British population is expected to rise from 67 million at present to 75 million in 2050. All those extra people need homes, roads, energy, food and jobs, all of which will need more water. Our town is also set to see growth with many new homes set to be built in the years ahead.

The result is that on current projections, many parts of our country will face significant water deficits by 2050 if action is not taken, particularly in the south east including Hertfordshire.

Hertfordshire has among the highest water consumption in the country. Much of the water we use and take for granted on a daily basis is taken from rivers and groundwater reservoirs (chalk aquifers). There is work underway to balance water available to water demand but we still have a long way to go.

The good news is that we can all take simple steps to significantly cut our water use. Local water company Affinity Water has a series of tips to avoid wasting water. Did you know that turning off the tap while brushing your teeth can save over 6,500 litres of water a year or that fixing a dripping tap can save over 5,500 litres of water a year? Affinity Water also offers free home water efficiency checks. Reducing water use will also save you money.

What we are seeing is happening as a result of climate change. By using less in our homes, reducing business consumption and looking after what we have, we will be able to make sure that we have clean and plentiful water for generations to come.

We will only achieve this if everyone starts to take action now.

Kevin Barton, Head of External Communications at Affinity Water said: “Individual actions to save water make a massive difference – even just reducing use by 10 litres a day. Climate change, population growth, the demand for water and the need to leave more water in the environment means water resources are under pressure.

“However, we plan for the long term and with other water companies across the region to make sure we have a sustainable supply of water into the next century. We have put forward proposals in our first ever regional resource plan to bring online new sources of water, move water around our network more efficiently and bring in water from other areas of the country where was is more plentiful. Reducing leakage and demand for water play a key part in this plan to ensure we have a sustainable supply for future generations.

“We would like to thank the 180,000 people that have signed up to our water saving campaign at 'Save Our Streams' since it's launch last May. Join the movement to save water now and get access to tailored water saving advice, free home water efficiency checks and free water saving devices.”

For tips on how to save water and book a free water efficiency test, visit Affinity Water’s website.