Update on water resources

Within the Cambridge region we continue to experience lower than average levels of rainfall. This is now starting to generate concerns among the public, relating to levels within watercourses and the local environment.

Pete Aspley, Wholesale Director, said:

“We are closely monitoring the situation in conjunction with the Environment Agency. We are not at the point where we believe a drought should be declared. We have suffered from some exceptionally low levels of rainfall and without the rainfall, ultimately the whole system isn’t sustainable in the long term.

There’s no imminent risk of anyone’s taps running dry, as there are adequate supplies to meet everyone’s demand at the moment but we’re really conscious of the environmental impact associated with the abstraction of our water. We’re working very closely with the Cam Valley Forum and the Environment Agency. We’ve limited the volume that we abstract and reduced our licence capacity in order to make sure we minimise that environmental impact. We’ve done that by using some alternative sources and moving water around. However, in the longer term with the continued growth in population we are going to find it increasingly difficult to do that.

New developments will have a significant impact on demand. We’re planning ahead and looking at our 25-year planning and investment strategy in order to make sure we’ll be able to meet everyone’s demands.

Invariably, we’ve all got a part to play in this. We all need to recognise that water is a precious resource and that we often take it for granted. So we all need to avoid, wherever we can, any waste or misuse of water. Increasingly we will need to implement recycling of grey water and rainwater harvesting, particularly in new developments, which will reduce the amount of water abstraction and allow us to better meet people’s needs in the future. 

We work with a group, called Water Resources East, where we look at the challenge across the region and what needs to be done. Within that group there are water companies and representatives from agriculture and energy, so all the users of this precious resource. Our challenge is to collectively look at how we can meet everyone’s needs in a sustainable way. So the options we are discussing at the moment, construction of reservoirs,  transfer mains using rivers to transfer water from wetter parts of the country and also desalination, which is an extreme measure and quite expensive to operate but potentially offers a solution to the problem.”

Posted: August 28 2019

Summer water saving

Increased demand in the summer has a huge impact on the amount of water needed to be put into supply and this also affects groundwater levels. Find out how to be a summer water saver.