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The Great Debate 2021: Future challenges for water supply, Reading

Event organised by ICE

10 March 2021

This event has now ended


The UK water industry is facing many challenges and the success with which they are tackled will affect us all.

There is a poor match between water availability and demand in this country. Moving water about and treating it is complex. Population growth is putting ever greater pressure on supply and climate change may impact on availability. The water companies are overseen by three regulators: Ofwat - the economic regulator; the Environment Agency - the environmental regulator and the Drinking Water Inspectorate, who ensure public health.

Today the water companies deliver safe, clean water, day in day out to millions of homes. They do it reliably and at a price almost everyone can afford. Service interruptions are rare. The last hosepipe ban in England was seven years ago.

Using less water and using it more efficiently is only partly about investment in infrastructure or technological innovation; most of it is about changing human behaviour. At present, the average person in the UK uses 140 litres of water a day: if we want long term water security, we need get that down to 100 litres or less.

This year's Great Debate event will have four speakers representing water operator, water regulator, drinking water inspectorate and water consultant / research authority. Speakers will then form a panel to respond to questions and comments from the online audience.

Topics to be covered will include:

  • Water Recycling and Efficiency
  • Improving the Balance between Supply and Demand for Water
  • Maintaining and Improving Water Quality
  • Ageing Infrastructure and Asset Management

This is an inter-Institution event produced by University of Reading, Institution of Civil Engineers, British Computer Society, Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Institution of Engineering & Technology and Institution of Chemical Engineers.

More information on this event including registration details will follow in January 2021.