A quick look out the window (still raining) and a trip down to the River Stour (still flooded) would surely illicit the answer ‘Currently? No!’
But the summary report nevertheless makes compelling reading (Drought Conf Summary Report 121204), warning that “population growth and climate change will place more pressure on our water resources and therefore economic growth in the future.
“We must act now to build our resilience to future economic risks and pressures and this includes protecting our natural resources.”
I was particularly struck by this discussion: ‘which should come first in the allocation of resources – industry, farming, residential use or the environment?’
Here’s a drip-feed:
- Agriculture uses the least water (approximately 1%); residential development is much more. With a growing population, more water will be needed in future and this needs to be planned for.
- Water usage in farming may be low, but many industries that depend on farming use a lot of water – eg. food processing industries. We need to be aware of these linkages.
- Should the environment be seen in the same way as industry, farming and residential? The environment needs water to support flora and fauna; water cannot be allocated to it in the same way as for housing and industry. The other uses take essential water from the environment at a cost to it.
- The environment must not be pushed to the back of the queue due to increasing demands for water for development: farming should get a greater share of available resources; and there should be a drive for more efficient use of water in residential and industrial uses.
I’m hoping to have more data on how such information should be interpreted specifically in Wye before too long.