May 2018 Chair’s foreword:  Since the mid-eighteenth century, England’s winter rainfall has increased and summer rainfall has decreased. Climate change, population growth and land use change mean river flows and groundwater levels may decrease in future summers. The time it takes to refill water supplies, coupled with our variable weather conditions and diverse landscape, means we could increasingly see water shortages in some areas at the same time as flooding in others. We have good reason to talk about the weather in England, but we need to do more than just talk. If we do not increase water supply, reduce demand and cut down on wastage, many areas will face significant water deficits by 2050, particularly in the south east. The National Infrastructure Commission recently reported that if the water industry does not improve infrastructure and water efficiency we risk a future without enough water for people, business, farmers, wildlife and the environment. The Environment Agency plays a major role in protecting water resources. We respond to pollution incidents, prosecute offenders and improve water quality along rivers and beaches. We also regulate the abstraction system, which has served us well for over 50 years but now needs reform, introducing greater flexibility to meet the needs of a changing climate. Current levels of abstraction are unsustainable …  Click here to read the report

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