16 May 2000
‘Water shortage ahead for south-east’

CLIMATE change will bring acute water shortages to agriculture in south east England by 2050, predict the authors of a new government study.

And some coastal areas in Eastern England will have to be abandoned to the sea as they will become uneconomic to defend as temperatures rise.

The study by Environmental Resources Management forecasts that there will be at least 20% less water available in the south east.

This would hit farming as well as drinking supplies, gardening and industry.

The cost of new reservoirs could be 900 million, while storage schemes to collect winter rainfall could cost as much as 44.5bn.

At least 1.2bn will be needed over the next 50 years to improve river and sea defences, says the report.

But Environment minister Michael Meacher conceded on Monday (15 May) this may not always be financially viable.

  • The Times 16/05/2000 page 12