Water and the Environment
Maintaining the balance
As well as capturing water into storage reservoirs, water companies maintain supplies by abstracting water directly from rivers and from the groundwater aquifers that feed them. It’s crucial that we get the balance right, because if we take too much, we threaten the quality of the natural environment and the wildlife it supports. Only a quarter of water bodies are fully functioning ecosystems and the drive to increase this number is addressed in the Water Framework Directive.
The benefits of a clean, healthy aquatic environment are many:
- Relatively clean water reduces the need for water companies to carry out costly and carbon intensive treatment processes to make water supplies fit to drink
- Improved habitats support greater biodiversity
- Improved flood protection
- Good quality waters for bathing, angling and other leisure activities
The health of our rivers and coastal waters has improved greatly during the past two decades, but there is still much to do. Together, we must all now focus on reducing pollution – from roads, farms and industrial estates; from the detergents we use to wash our cars or from the many products that find their way into our drains. Tackling pollution at its source is better for the environment and cheaper than water companies applying ‘end of pipe’ treatments which require energy, chemicals and can result in higher customer bills.