Wales warned against water complacency

Tuesday 13th Mar 2012 by theWeather Club

Image: Richard Webb

While the famous green valleys of Wales are testament to the country's plentiful - and more importantly - reliable rainfall, locals have been cautioned against taking their normally plentiful water supplies for granted.

Environment Agency Wales (EAW) director Chris Mills said that the country had enough water 'at the moment'. But he added that some rivers were at their limit in terms of how much water could be taken to cover any drought related shortfalls without harming the environment. There have been calls for Wales to supply surplus water to drought-hit areas of England but these have been dismissed as too costly by the water supply company Welsh Water. The company said that the cost of pumping water to their English counterparts would prove very expensive, and that English water firms would be looking at other solutions for dealing with the consequences of yet another dry winter.

The EAW said periods of exceptionally dry weather in recent years had pushed parts of Wales close to drought conditions with many rivers now running low. The agency went on to warn that if Wales suffered a dry spring and summer the situation could well impact on wildlife living in rivers. In preparation the agency said that it had created a drought plan in the event of this happening, but added that the nation was likely to face future pressure on its water resources as a result of climate change.

"Although we have enough water in Wales at the moment, there is no room for complacency". Mr Mills explained. "There are some rivers which we believe are at the limit for how much water is available to be taken without harming the environment." He continued. "We have to make sure that there is enough water available for people and for businesses as well as for the wildlife that relies on healthy flows in our rivers." Mr Mills said important species of fish such as salmon and sewin could be harmed by low water levels. He also added that the agency was working with water companies and the Welsh government to ensure enough water would be available for all who needed it.