Statement from Food & Water Europe Executive Director Wenonah Hauter
Brussels – “Two and a half months earlier than last year’s dry spell, as new areas of England are joining regions already suffering from drought issues this week, it is disappointing to see that once again the emphasis has been placed on household users and hosepipe bans instead of focusing on the role of water management in the country.
“One of the best ways to ensure that water is managed as a common resource, and that both farmers and householders get what they need in dry spells, is to look at water use holistically through public management. Water should not be commoditized for private gain, but stewarded for the long-term public good, in good times and bad.
“Private water companies cannot wait for droughts to happen before saying they will fix leaks. The idea that household consumers are largely responsible for water use is a myth. In fact, consumer use accounts for only 10 percent of our global water supply. In reality, the problem lies in aging infrastructure systems and unsustainable agricultural and industrial practices that squander precious water resources.
“Furthermore, the government should not allow industries to use and contaminate millions of litres of water through activities such as shale gas extraction, which will only lead to further abuses on already fragile groundwater resources.
“The solution to our collective water woes lies in adopting an integrated approach to the management of our watersheds, less water intensive agricultural practices and methods of renewable energy production that do not cause more environmental harm.
“While climate change is indeed a problem, we cannot simply use it as a catch all excuse for inaction, especially when modernizing and better maintaining the country’s water infrastructure systems could address many of the water scarcity issues from which England suffers. In failing to address the health of these water systems, the private companies that currently oversee these essential systems are doing their customers and the nation’s water resources a grave disservice.”
Contact: Gabriella Zanzanaini, gzanzanaini(at)fweurope.org, +32 488 409 662