A speech by the UK’s Environment Agency’s Sir James Bevan highlights the necessity of taking action now to prevent a water crisis. Backed up by research and collected into a phrase that he describes as “the jaws of death,” the UK is currently on track for water shortages in the next couple of decades. Water companies are increasingly investing more and more to build resilience against water shortages, these shortages are intensified by population pressures and the climate crisis. Before the year 2050 on our current trajectory, the UK’s supply of water will not be able to meet demand. The water all of our families, businesses and communities are reliant upon will be in shorter supply. Whether it’s taking showers, flushing the porcelain throne, or utilising water in our businesses’ production methods, our reliance on water needs to be better understood so we can safely maintain its importance and its supply.
With the climate crisis intensifying, our summers are getting drier, and all of us in the United Kingdom have probably felt the increase in hotter summer weather. The Enviornmental Agency estimates that before 2050, the amount of water available will be 10-15% less than it is today. The risk of drought will be higher, and some of our rivers are expected to lose between 50%-80% of water during the summer months.
Those figures may look pretty scary, but we are not there yet, and there are solutions, if we act now.
For our enterprises, listed below are small strategies to move forward while thinking ahead of the emerging water crisis.
Source products from suppliers who make an effort to produce sustainably, in line with national legal frameworks. Suppliers who are conscious of the environmental impacts of their products and production techniques should be considered as alternatives to those who operate at a minimum standard. They are likely to already be conscious of the amount of water used in their operations, but it’s always beneficial to double check and to cross over ideas together to find sustainable solutions.
Mainly for garden centres and nurseries – Use products such as coco coir disks, cisterns and drip irrigation systems to help manage and utilise effective water usage. Incorporate technology into irrigation systems such as a water timer or a smart sensor that can help monitor local weather conditions and soil moisture, producing less water waste. Minimise the use of sprinkler systems while looking to maximise the amount of water used that nature provides in the form of rain and runoff, and storing that water until required. Even other companies can work towards sustainability by catching rainwater and utilising that instead of a singular reliance on tap water, helping to also cut the costs of water bills for your business.
Together we can build the safe environment that all of our businesses are reliant upon, we can guard it, and we can maintain it. Small steps, but in tandem. Together.