Government assessment says supply risk measures are OK

A government assessment of the most urgent risks associated with climate change has assigned household water supply interruption risk as requiring no more than current action. The assessment – which will form a springboard for a revised National Adaptation Programme – draws from an earlier report which lists the potential for shortfalls in in water supplies among its six highest climate change risks.

Elsewhere in the urgency report – UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2017 – the government commits also to reform the water abstraction system in the UK system by the early 2020. It says it aims “to create a better, fairer, more modern and flexible approach that will support business resilience, investment and growth, and manage the pressures of a growing population and climate change.”

Defra minister Lord Gardiner said: “We are taking action, from improving flood defences across the country to securing our critical food and water supplies. The latest assessment will help us develop our long-term programme to tackle these risks.”

The report its the government’s second statutory assessment of the risks and opportunities posed by the current effects and predicted impacts of climate change. It draws on an earlier report by the Committee for Climate Change’s Adaptation Sub-Committee – the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2017 Evidence Report. The Evidence Report sets sets out six priority areas needing urgent further action over the next five years. They include shortages in the public water supply, and for agriculture, energy generation and industry, with impacts on freshwater ecology.

A second National Adaptation Programme (following the first in 2013) will, according to Defra, respond to the second statutory risk assessment.