Climate change threatens UK water security

THE UK water sector is facing major challenges from global climate change. A rise in the global temperature in recent years and changes in weather conditions have severely affected water resources and altered rainfall patterns. There have been an increasing number of severe flood incidents in the UK over the last few years, while in 2013, the Environment Agency (EA) predicted that short-duration droughts will become more common in the future, which will lead to low levels of water in rivers, reservoirs and groundwater.
According to Water Industry, a new market update published by market intelligence provider Key Note, the UK water industry grew by 4.5% last year. Water and sewerage companies in England and Wales enjoyed growth in value of 4.7%, compared with a rise of 3% in Scotland and 1.7% in Northern Ireland.
Revenue generated from sewerage services is higher than that generated from water services. In 2013/2014, turnover from sewerage businesses accounted for 51.9% of total water revenue in England and Wales, compared with 48.1% accounted for by the provision of water. Thames Water is the largest water and sewerage company in the UK, followed by United Utilities, Severn Trent and Anglian Water.
Demand for water is projected to continue to grow over the next 5 years and Key Note forecasts 4.1% growth for the UK water sector in 2014/2015. Over the coming years, water companies will continue to invest in infrastructure to ensure the future security of the UK’s water supply against climate change, poor weather conditions and growing demand for water.