Abstraction creeps up as power plant use grows 25% in five years

Abstraction from groundwater and non-tidal sources in England continued a three-year trend of small increases with a 3% rise in 2016 to 9.7bn cubic metres.

Between a peak 11.6bn cubic metres in 2001 abstraction fell to 8.2bn cubic metres in 2011 before the recent series of incremental hikes.

The ebb and flow of abstraction volumes has largely been determined by consumption by power generators. Power industry abstraction fell from a high of some 3.5bn cubic metres in 2001 to a low of 1bn cubic metres in 2005-06 to increase to about 2.8bnb cubic metres in 2016 via alternating annual rises and falls. The other chief components: public water supply, fish farming, water cress growing and amenity ponds, and other industries remained within a variation of about 1bn cubic metres over the past 16 years.

Groundwater abstraction in 2016 made up 21% of the total at 2.1bn cubic metres having continually but by only 0.3bn cubic metres since 2000.

Abstraction from non-tidal surface water had shown significant volatility with an 8.8bn cubic metres high in 2000 falling to a low of 6 bn cubic metres in 2011 and rising more than 25% to 7.6bn cubic metres in 2016.