I post beneath two Q and As on filling reservoirs now from high running rivers and the need for investment in extra capacity. They are slowly moving to tackle the water shortage.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to increase reservoir and water storage capacity. (83504)
Tabled on: 09 November 2022
The Government recognises the need to improve the resilience of our water supplies and is committed to a twin track approach to improving water resilience. This involves investing in new supply infrastructure and action to reduce water company leaks and improve water efficiency.
The National Framework for Water Resources, published in March 2020, sets out the strategic water needs for England to 2050 and beyond. The Framework sets out how we will reduce demand, halve leakage rates, develop new water supply infrastructure, move water to where itis needed, increase drought resilience of water supplies, and reduce the need for drought measures.
Water companies are using the £469 million made available by Ofwat in the current Price Review period (2019-2024) to progress the infrastructure required. Before the end of this year, water companies will publish their statutory draft Water Resources Management Plans for consultation, that will set out how they will improve drought resilience and secure water supplies in the long term.
The Government also supports the agricultural sector with its Farming Transformation Fund grants for the construction of new reservoirs.
The answer was submitted on 17 Nov 2022 at 10:53.
To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps she is taking to help refill reservoirs from river abstraction, in the context of increases in rainfall and river water flow. (83503)
Tabled on: 09 November 2022
Water companies are taking action to improve public water supplies, especially refilling reservoirs. They are using drought permits to allow them to take water from rivers, including new sources, or to modify or suspend conditions in their existing abstraction licences. When the Environment Agency (EA) determine a drought permit application they will ensure there are mitigating conditions in place to protect the environment. The EA is encouraging water companies to submit drought permit applications early to help improve supplies over winter in preparation for next spring and summer. The EA has granted 18 drought permits for South West Water, Thames Water, Severn Trent Water and South East Water. Defra has also determined a drought order for Yorkshire Water. The EA is determining further permit applications for Southwest Water, Yorkshire Water and Thames Water.
We are also helping the agriculture sector refill their reservoirs over the winter. The EA is monitoring and forecasting flows to advise the farming sector when they can abstract in line with their licence conditions, which protect the environment and other water users. October rainfall was typically above average meaning that many farmers could start refilling their reservoirs and we are encouraging them to maximise all opportunities to do this, given November is forecast to be dry in many parts of the country.
The answer was submitted on 17 Nov 2022 at 11:06.