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Effective management better than new infrastructure for drought

Knee-jerk calls for new infrastructure may not be the best way to manage drought, the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental management (CIWEM) has warned.

Following the drought summit held by the Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman, on Monday, the CIWEM suggests that effective management, widespread use of metering, water efficiency measures and sustainable planning would be the best approaches to take.

Temporary restrictions form part of a sensible range of measures to deal with drought risk and further education for the public would help to highlight the risks and impact of wasting water as well as informing people about steps they can take to reduce the effects.

Longer-term, CIWEM emphasises the importance of accurate measurement of water use by all users, coupled with widespread utilisation of water efficient appliances, less wasteful water use behaviour and a more integrated way of managing water to make better use of it when in surplus through storage at all scales.

CIWEM executive director, Nick Reeves OBE, said: “It is not as though we haven’t been warned. There is a vast body of evidence on climate change and its contribution to water stress is made worse by rising demand. The current drought conditions are yet another wake-up call for more urgent action on water efficiency, water metering and retro-fitting of water-saving devices.

“Public attitudes to water have got to change and the government must afford water a much higher priority in the planning of future developments, especially in water-stressed areas of the country. Let this Olympic year and the year of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee mark a commitment to investment in innovation in water management and more respect for a precious natural resource.” 

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