Water Under Pressure –
The Challenges in
Eastern Region
Dr Charles Beardall
Eastern Area Manager,
Environment Agency
Water Under Pressure - The
Challenges in Eastern Region
Setting the Scene
The Challenges
The Future
Setting the Scene – The Eastern Region
-AONBs, the Broads, Environmental sites
Setting the Scene – Sources of Water
mm
Setting the Scene –
Sources of Groundwater
Chalk- regional principle
aquifer
Crag - locally significant
in Suffolk and Nor...
Water Resources – Who uses the
water ?
Over 4500 licences in Eastern Region
60 % abstracted from surface waters (rivers), ...
Setting the Scene - Water Availability
Setting the Scene – Water Framework Directive
Prepared by Integrated Environment Planning
© Crown copyright and database r...
Challenges –
Climate Change
hotter, drier summers
warmer, wetter winters
extreme weather events
rising sea-level
Breac...
Challenges –Growth and public water supply
Challenges - Agriculture
Hose-reel gun irrigation
Challenges –
The Coast and
sea level rise
Shoreline Management
Plan policies identify
where change is most
likely to happe...
Future Solutions
Water Framework Directive
‘Challenges and Choices’ Regional
Consultations
Catchment Abstraction
Managemen...
Partnership Working –
Deben Catchment Pilot Holistic Water Management
Water under pressure - Charles Beardall, Environment Agency
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Water under pressure - Charles Beardall, Environment Agency

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Charles Beardall, Area Manager with the Environment Agency at the Landscapes for Life 2013 Conference

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  • State of the Water environment in Eastern Region (by that refering to Norfolk Suffolk and Essex) outlinin gth eposition we are in and the challenges we face here in the east. Will Also Set the Scene for this afternoons session on - Water as a resource – Peter Simpson for Anglian Water and Paul Hammett NFU and the final session about addressing the challenges. Also provide a backdrop for the site visits to ……
  • Eastern Region = Norfolk Suffolk Essex Shows AONBs, Natura 2000 sites, Norfolk and Suffolk Broad Water major element of virtually all our sites sustaining freshwater grazing marshes, some of the largest reedbeds in the country, some of the most important valley fens in Europe, brackish lagoon, the open lakes the Broads and rivers. On the coast freshwater is an important component of our estuaries and the Broads and as you can see our coast is almost continuous European site from North Norfolk to the Thames. Like many round the country our AONBs and the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads are huge attraction to tourists as well as a living landscape supporting a vibrant rural economy. Area includes some of most visited reserves in the country including Titchwell and Minsmere. The natural environement is an essential part of our local economy and water is at the core of sustaining the key elements of our landscape/attraction/ recreational draw As I will describe later water is also an essential element sustaining agriculture, industry and over 3.5 million people. But as you will see our water supplies are significantly challenged by a combination of climate change, growth, increasing demand from agriculture and the need to protect the natural environment.
  • 34% less rain than national average Parts of coast Essex and Suffolk the lowest in the country. Much less than Jerusalem. Semi arid climate – less rain falls in the summer than is lost to the air through evaporation or through plants (transpiration). We effectively have a drought most summers.
  • What sustains the environment and the economy of the eastern region is the gift of significant groundwater aquifers Chalk predominant aquifer, underlies whole area, Red crag also important The aquifers act like rechargable batteries. Recharged in the winter by rain perculating through the ground, to be drained down in the summer Base flows – strong Norfolk, weak in Essex where chalk confined by thick layer of London Clay Summer flows heavily augmented by Sewage treatment effluent – Norfolk base flow is strong effluent contributes less – about 6% for the Wensum for instance, where base flow supported by groundwaters is less , for instance in Essex, STW effluent can contribute up to 71 % of summer flows (on the Blackwater for instance) We have a long history of interventioon in securing reliable water resources for public water supply – the most significant being the EOETS – providing 30% of Essex water in summer conditions
  • Pie chart does not give a true picture when we look at peak summer demand and the relative potential impact of each sector Power generation (large portion of green segment) takes and returns water to river with little or no impact. Pws takes and returns water to the river system, often at different quality and in a different palce but still within the same river catchment. Indeed can improve flows as mentioned Agriculture is almost 100% consumptive. And returns virtually no water back to the catchment. During a summer day the volume abstracted for agriculture can equal that abstracted for pws.
  • Our role and a Core duty to “conserve, manage and secure proper use of water resources “ We do this primarily through the abstraction licencing system Number of licences  N/S/E/C  4512 10% of all licences in England and Wales   Diagram shows availability of water in Summer (left) and for Winter on right. Red is where no water is available – Broad picture : no water is available for abstraction other than in some catchment in winter or high flows for storage at any time. 60 % over licenced and 40 % over abstracted. The legacy of the way water has been allocated in the past about 12.5% more water is currently licenced than is available This is more water than is held in all 4 public water supply reservoirs in Essex (30% of Essex water in summer). Licences have been time limited (now either 6 or 12 yearly to link in with CAMS and WFD review cycles). Each licence has a Hands of Flow, below which abstraction is not allowed, to protect river flows and wetlands, marshes and reedbeds and the rights of other abstractors. So we have a mechanism to reassess availability, adjust licences and adapt to future changes in climate. Water Bill is looking to reform the abraction licencing system.
  • Moving away from water resources to the wider state of the water environment these diagrams show the status as described by the Water Framework Directive. WFD is an ecology based look at the state of the environment but also looks at water quality parameters (BOD, pesticides, other elements) as well the physical quality of the waterbodies (for instance the river habitats, geo morphology). WQ has improved hugely over the last few decades with massive investment by the water companies and vastly improved discharges. Despite this our waterbodies in the easter region do not come out of this classification well. Only 9% of waterbodies are classed as good ecological status. Map on right shows poor and bad waterbodies. Failures are predominantly down to Phosphorus (from diffuse pollution predominantly agriculture and point source discharges - STW effluent even though over 40 of the major STWs in Eastern Region are now phosphorus stripped driven by the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive. This accounts for 20% of the total Phosphorus load from STW. The overall contribution of phosphorus in our catchments is 63% from STW and 15% from Agri, 9% from industry. The largest reason for failures are due to the morphology of our rivers which have in the past by and large been deepened and straightened to facilitate drainage of the land. We have a considerable challenge to improve our waterbodies on both parameters but considerable effort is being invested by a wide range of partners to address these 2 major issues as well as other reasons for failures.
  •   By 2080 in the Eastern Region hotter, drier summers with a rise in temperature of 1.9 to 5.9°c and up to 44% less rain warmer, wetter winters with a 1.6°C to 4.7°c temperature increase and 4-44% more rain a increase in extreme weather events potentially causing an increase in flood risk, and pollution incidents   rising sea-level, 20 to 70cms relative to 1990 sea level. Work Published* last year for Predicted future river flows shows for East Anglia is overall a reduction the flow across the country in Summer and increase in Winter In 2050’s for East Anglia 10-20% reduction in low flows – could be up to 80% in places 15% Increase in high flows Net loss of 20% CONCLUSIONS – Very volatile weather, with less water overall, but more in shorter bursts and rising seal levels
  • We’re predicted to be one of the fastest growing regions for housing with 107,000 houses predicted in the next 10 years Red areas show where there is a predicted water resource deficit – AWS currently working on options to overcome this issue through the development of their Water Resource Management Plan, designed to provide sustainable supplies up to 2040. In Essex supplies for the near future are in surplus as ESWC have recently expanded Abberton reservoir . Demand over last 10 years have been level or reducing, but this has been a period of wetter summers.
  • ½ Uk spray irrig in Anglian region. Hugely valuable on sandy soils were very valuable but water hungry crops are grown (potatoes, carrots, sugar beet) Agri (mostly for spray irrig) accounts for 11% of total volume abstracted , but because 100% consumptive has disproportionate impact on Env. Peak demand coincides when resource and env most under pressure. Irrigation tripled since 1980 demand could double again by 2050 Climate impact presents considerable challenge to current cropping regimes and use of water. 1C rise in temp =27 % increase in water requirements Agri very important part of our economy illustrate Cranfield University in conjunction with East Suffolk Water Abstractors Group. Looking at East Suffolk. £50 million gross output. £43 million of this from irrigated production. £13 million in wages reaches the local economy. High flow storage reservoirs critical part of the future to capture high flows. Currently only around 5% licences feed farm irrigation reservoirs. But also better use of water and trading abstractions important. Paul no doubt talking about these issues this afternoon (Abstracted volume normally a 1/3 rd of licenced quantity. This yr dry summer 60% already, likely to be 80-90% of licenced quantity.)
  • Climate Change and sea level rise will have a significant impact on the shape of our coastline and water environment. This is nothing new for us as the land has been sinking at about 1-2mm year for thousands of years and our soft erodable coast has responded accordingly. Climate Change will however exponentially increase relative sea levels as we go through the next 50 to 100 years and significantly inrease the speed of erosion.   The policies agreed through the Shoreline Management Plans Aim to Hold the line for 2/3 rd (66 %) of 209 policy zones around Norfolk to Thames, up to 2025. NAI and managed realignment 33 % of policies over next 10 years, rising to 43 % for the 2050 to 2100. If this happens and sea level rises as predicted then landscape of our coast and particularly our AONBs will change dramatically as freshwater marshes and reedbeds will change into intertidal and brackish habitats. WALBERSWICK RIDGE EXAMPLE ABOVE EA already investing heavily in preparing for the future and adapting to sea level rise whist ensuring we adequately protect coastal towns and the local economy. All the Eastern AONBs and the Broads National park have had considerable FD investments over last 10 yrs Two good current examples include the £120 M Broads Flood Alleviation project that the Minister mentioned and the recently completed scheme at Minsmere, scheme provides for managed realignment in the moist vulnerable part whilst protecting the majority of the reserve, hence protecting the 103 FTEs this site supports in the local economy and the £ 2.3m that the reserve brings annually into Suffolk Coastal area.
  • There are a numbe rof initiatives tht will help us prepare for the future. As usual in this part of the world there are some very strong partnerships that have been set up to address a numbe rof the pressures on our water environment. We are working hard on facilitating the improvements we need to address the issues that the WFD is bringing to the fore and we’ll be hearing this afternoon from the Rivers Trusts and other catchment initiatives that have formed to improve the ecological statusof our waterbodies.. We’re now working on the 2 nd River Basin Plan and we are seeking your views to help shape and develop our approach. I’ve talked about our Catchment Abstraction Management Startegies and the flexibility that they give to adapting to the future as water resources become more challeneged. W ealso have a programme to restore sustainable abstraction which looks to remove or reduce the most damaging abstractions, and providing appropriate compensation to those who might lose out. PWS – Peter will no doubt be talking about the Water Resource Management Plan for Anglian Region this afternoon As will Paul Hammett about how agriculture will adapt to the future pressure. The Governments Water Bill Government recognises that we will have to reduce the amount of water we waste and use our existing resources more efficiently. The Government is also committed (through Water White paper (Dec 2011) to design new abstraction management system to bring in more flexibility, value water more appropriately and allow for better sharing of water.
  • Finally like ot mention one new pilot that has been set up between ourselves and Las, IDB, AWS, EA, NFU, farmers, East Suffolk water Abstratctors group, AONB Project and NE To look at a far more joined up and detailed approach to flood risk, water resource and water quality management in Suffolk. Water would water trading look like, where would the best place for strategic reservoirs be for farming supply and PWS, how can we use high flows better. Rather than individuals or single interest groups attempting to adapt to the future on their own in this is about the strategic partnership approach    
  • Water under pressure - Charles Beardall, Environment Agency

    1. 1. Water Under Pressure – The Challenges in Eastern Region Dr Charles Beardall Eastern Area Manager, Environment Agency
    2. 2. Water Under Pressure - The Challenges in Eastern Region Setting the Scene The Challenges The Future
    3. 3. Setting the Scene – The Eastern Region -AONBs, the Broads, Environmental sites
    4. 4. Setting the Scene – Sources of Water mm
    5. 5. Setting the Scene – Sources of Groundwater Chalk- regional principle aquifer Crag - locally significant in Suffolk and Norfolk River terrace gravels - locally significant in Essex Ely Ouse to Essex Water Transfer
    6. 6. Water Resources – Who uses the water ? Over 4500 licences in Eastern Region 60 % abstracted from surface waters (rivers), 40% groundwaters Distribution of Water Licences 62%11% 23% 4% Public Water Supply Agriculture Industry/ Power Generated Other
    7. 7. Setting the Scene - Water Availability
    8. 8. Setting the Scene – Water Framework Directive Prepared by Integrated Environment Planning © Crown copyright and database rights 2013 Ordnance Survey 100024198 © Environment Agency copyright and/or database rights 2013. All rights reserved. ¯0 8 16 24 km 2012 Overall Status Poor Bad WFD rivers
    9. 9. Challenges – Climate Change hotter, drier summers warmer, wetter winters extreme weather events rising sea-level Breaches in Walberswick ridge 2007 Storm surge DroughtLow flows Coastal Erosion Flooding
    10. 10. Challenges –Growth and public water supply
    11. 11. Challenges - Agriculture Hose-reel gun irrigation
    12. 12. Challenges – The Coast and sea level rise Shoreline Management Plan policies identify where change is most likely to happen (see map) Walberswick shingle ridge – 2007 tidal surge Miinsmere nature reserve – Adapting to sea level rise Broadland Flood Aleviation Project
    13. 13. Future Solutions Water Framework Directive ‘Challenges and Choices’ Regional Consultations Catchment Abstraction Management Strategies Restoring Sustainable Abstraction Public Water Supply – Water Resource Management Plans, Demand management, Water Resources East Anglia Adapting Agriculture and storing water. Water Bill – Licencing Reform
    14. 14. Partnership Working – Deben Catchment Pilot Holistic Water Management

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