Two pieces on water scarcity – the article below and the EA’s consultation
‘Environment Agency – new consultation on water stress to inform decisions on compulsory metering by water companies
The Environment Agency (EA) has launched a new consultation on its approach to determining areas water stress to inform decisions by water companies on whether they can introduce compulsory metering in those areas. The consultation sets out the Agency’s latest method and initial outcomes for determining areas of water stress in England. The determination is specifically to inform whether water companies, in areas of serious water stress, can consider charging for water by metered volume for all customers. Compulsory metering is one of the options they can consider in their water resources management plans to manage water supplies.
Introducing the consultation, the EA commented:
“A lot has changed since we last revised the classification in 2013. The National Framework for Water Resources and water companies’ water resources management plans (WRMP19) were published in 2020. Using the latest data from these plans has improved our understanding of water resources needs.
“This includes the impact of climate change, pressure on the environment and how to meet the challenges they create.
“Water stress applies both to the natural environment and to public water supplies. Both will be affected by climate change. Public water supplies are under pressure from reductions in abstraction to make them more environmentally sustainable. There is also a need to make public water supplies more resilient to droughts and meet additional demands associated with development and population growth.”
Kevin Grecksh & Cathrina Landstrom Oxford University
Drought management in England and Wales takes place in a narrow, confined governance space. Assessed against current literature on drought management, England and Wales show little innovativeness and little actual willingness to change. We ask how drought and water scarcity management is currently done, who is involved (or not) and, foremost, what are the current problems and deficiencies with current English and Welsh drought and water scarcity management that require attention. We are also interested in the question of what can be done to improve drought and water scarcity management in England and Wales. This research therefore explores how we can create a continuous relationship between the different actors contributing different levels of knowledge and we plead to widen the drought governance space in order to face the current and future water governance challenges. First, we present an empirically based critique of current drought and water scarcity management in England and Wales, highlighting the contrast between available drought and water scarcity management options and what is currently applied in England and Wales. Second, we present and introduce Environmental Competency Groups, a methodology aiming to bring local residents’ experience-based knowledge of water management in relation to particular catchments to bear on the generation of scientific knowledge. It has been successfully trialed in relation to both droughts and flooding in England and Wales. We argue that this is a successful way to bring together people with different perspectives and knowledge in order to overcome the deficiencies of current drought and water scarcity management in England and Wales.