North West Civil Engineers have paid tribute to a sustainable water abstraction scheme in the heart of Lancashire.
The Brennand and Whitendale restoration scheme has been showcased in the hard hitting ‘State of the Nation’ report into water supply released today by the Institution of Civil Engineers North West.
ICE North West Regional Director Alan Butler described the scheme as being the first of its kind – and he praised the collaboration between the partners in delivering a sustainable water supply to local communities.
The Brennand and Whitendale restoration scheme is the first of its kind and demonstrates the value of partnership working between the community focus group, United Utilities and the Environment Agency.
Now the scheme is set to deliver a range of benefits, including:
- Protecting low river flows so they return to a more natural state equating to around 22 million litres per day in the River Dunsop;
- 14,000 visitors annually will no longer see dry river beds caused by abstraction. This will be replaced by a more natural and thriving river environment;
- Helping river-dependent insect communities to recover and flourish;
- Allowing fish to move along the rivers over a greatly extended period;
- Giving fish more space in which to lay eggs and live, improving survival and colonisation rates;
- Improve overall ecology so rivers achieve Good Ecological Status before 2015.
Alan Butler says schemes like this are vital if the water security of our region is to be safeguarded for future generations.
“Currently most UK households pay only a £1 per day for unlimited water, which requires a costly treatment process to make it drinkable. Long term use of expensive drinking water for activities like watering the garden is unsustainable.
“We are calling for a 30 per cent reduction of per capita consumption in homes – currently 150 litres per day – along with discretionary tariffs that reward low usage with prices rising as usage increases,” said Mr Butler.
The ‘State of the Nation’ report – a critical examination of the nation’s infrastructure – calls for society to place a greater value on water as a vital resource.
ICE North West is advocating the universal introduction of water meters in every household, complemented by discretionary and social tariffs which would ensure a fair payment regime and financially reward low usage.
This would also encourage a public shift in attitude towards solutions that can significantly reduce domestic water, such as recycling household water for non-drinking uses and rainwater harvesting for outside uses such as watering the garden. Currently drinkable water is so affordable to most of the population there is little public appetite for recycling water in the home. Yet using ‘grey water’ to flush the toilet alone could reduce domestic water usage by a third.