The UK utility Anglian Water has announced a £6.5bn investment plan to protect water supplies against the growing threat of extreme weather events, the supplier announced yesterday.
The company said the five-year, £6.5bn strategy will help protect local residents and businesses against the impact of extreme weather events caused by climate change.
Anglian Water serves the East of England, which produces much of the UK’s food supplies but receives only two thirds of the national average rainfall.
Extreme weather events this year, including the freezing weather brought by the ‘Beast from the East’ and this summer’s heatwave, have underlined how climate change is set to impact water supplies in the future, explained Anglian Water CEO Peter Simpson.
“The ‘Beast from the East’ and this summer’s heatwave are the kind of extreme weather challenges we’ll see more of in the future as a result of global climate change,” he said. “The plan we’ve proposed, and the millions of pounds of investment within will tackle these challenges head on to ensure that, as was the case this year, our customer supplies are not impacted by severe weather. And despite the likelihood of lower levels of rainfall in the future, it will ensure there are plentiful supplies of safe, quality water for our growing population.”
During this summer parts of South East and East England went almost 60 days with almost no rainfall, while much of the country sweltered in temperatures above 30C. Climate models suggest this kind of summer heatwave will become increasingly common as a result of climate change, putting pressure on electricity demand and water resources.
Anglian Water said it will spend the money on preventing water leaks and managing supplies more efficiently to reduce the risks of hosepipe bans and other water restrictions, as well as planning for sustainable supplies to meet demand from new housing and business developments.
UK water companies are upping their spending by 13 per cent between 2020-2025 compared to the previous five years, in part to deal with the increasing threat posed by droughts and flooding.
The plans also contain provisions to jointly cut leaks from the system by 16 per cent, but the National Infrastructure Commission said firms should go further to tackle leakages to prepare the system for drought conditions.
“That, combined with a new water transfer network to support areas suffering shortages, and measures to reduce demand, would greatly improve the resilience of our infrastructure for the future.”