Infrastructure experts call for keener conservation and more resources

Delivery of UK infrastructure has “fallen short of strategic ambition” according to a expert report. Its authors have called for keener effort to conserve water while recognising the likely need for investment in new supplies.

According to the National Needs Assessment of UK infrastructure (NNA), management of water shortages requires more more “vigorous action” to manage demand and reduce leakage but it recognises a need to up resources. “Where this supply is insufficient to keep up with the population pressure on demand and the impacts of climate change on water availability, timely steps should be taken to provide new supplies, while safeguarding and restoring water for the environment,” the report said.

The report authors, Atkins, the Institute of Civil Engineers and the Infrastructure Research Transitions Consortium, called on the government or the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) to “review the need for changes in policies” to increase deployment of “metering, smart metering, new tariff structures and requirements for water efficiency and innovative technologies in new building and refurbishment.”

The NNA is seeking to “guide the National Infrastructure Commission and the Government in planning for energy, housing, transport, digital communications, water, flood management and solid waste."

And it asserted the need for a government review of the case for establishing minimum standards of resilience for water supplies.

It called on NIC to work with he water sector to reduce the risks associated with the planning and promotion of

new strategic water infrastructure schemes including water transfers and new storage.