Reservoirs that may have helped with the drought were sold off by water companies. “Profit ahead of supply”

Reservoirs that might have been utilised to help the drought have reportedly been sold off by water companies.

The UK is preparing for drought conditions until October, according to a warning from the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology. Rivers are expected to be low to severely low in central and southern England, according to revised projections released this week.

Water providers are now under criticism for allegedly not making plans for the drought.

According to a recent article in The Telegraph, despite the fact that businesses have abandoned hundreds of reservoirs, no new ones have been created in the last 30 years.

Andrew Sells, who ran Natural England from 2014 to 2019, says this is proof that corporations care more about making money than about being resilient.

Major Brand Discounts

He noted in the paper: “No doubt some reservoirs had reached the end of their working lives – but in abandoning this critical infrastructure, without any replacements, they have again put short-term profits ahead of long-term water supply…

“[This is despite the fact] the defence of the nation is often quoted as the supreme duty of government. Keeping its people fed and watered seems just as important.”

The Environment Agency and Ofwat, two water regulators, are “equally culpable, and perhaps more so,” Mr Sells said.

According to the GMB Union, Thames Valley has, for instance, sold off 25 reservoirs during the 1980s.

Water providers said they had challenges while constructing additional reservoirs.

A representative for Water UK stated:”New reservoirs are subject to lengthy scrutiny from regulators about their near-term need and value for money, as well as planning permission.

“One new reservoir – Havant Thicket – is due to be completed by the end of this decade, and companies have made a further 18 proposals which are under consideration in a new streamlined arrangement introduced by regulators to speed-up and facilitate their decision-making and make it more likely that projects can proceed.”

Thames Water and Southern Water have received advice from reservoir specialist Dr Andy Hughes, who also stated that “we need to make the bureaucratic hoops easier”.

A network of environmental advocacy organisations called Waterways Protection commented on the revelation and charged water providers with “callous accounting.”

In a tweet, it was stated: “The water companies knew what they were doing when they sold the reservoirs off. Take the cash, things get bad, then they have a case for more government funding.

“It’s very callous accounting at the cost of the environment.

“How sad.”

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