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Water Shortages? Blame Them On Climate Change!

May 23, 2018

By Paul Homewood


h/t Philip Bratby


England is facing water supply shortages by 2050 unless rapid action is taken to curb water use and wastage, the Environment Agency has warned.

Its new report says enough water to meet the needs of 20 million people is lost through leakage every day.

Population growth and the impact of climate change are expected to add to supply pressures.

The agency wants people to have a personal water target and has urged them to use water more wisely at home.

The study, the first major report on water resources in England, says that population growth and climate change are the biggest pressures on a system that is already struggling.


Sounds like the first step to permanent water rationing, at least in some areas (although the government deny it).

Certainly there are increasing demands, but is “climate change” making any difference at all?

The first thing to highlight is what the EA Report says about the current situation:


1) Average annual rainfall in England has not changed since records began in the 18th century.

2) There is no clear trend in the frequency or intensity of droughts

3) Changes in river flows have not been attributed to climate change


In other words, whatever climate change the UK has had in the last century has had no discernible effect on rainfall, in either direction.

And this can be seen quite clearly in the Met Office charts, both annually and seasonally:


England Rainfall - Annual

England Rainfall - Winter

England Rainfall - Spring

England Rainfall - Summer

England Rainfall - Autumn



And the same is true for the South East, where demand is rising fastest and reserves tightest:



So why on Earth does the EA think climate change will become a problem?

This is where they take on board the usual junk projections from the Met Office:


Climate change will affect the amount and timing of rainfall that supports river flows and replenishes groundwater. It will also influence the demand for water and its quality, as well as the way land is used – all of which will put pressure on water resources.
Summers are likely to get hotter, significantly increasing demand for water. Winters are likely to get warmer and wetter. Although average summer rainfall is not predicted to change, more rainfall may come in big downpours. This could lead to droughts and floods, possibly at the same time. This would increase the damage caused and increase the risk of disasters such as wildfires. Increasing frequency of both drought and summer heatwaves could lead to a much higher likelihood of these extreme events occurring at the same time.
River flows are predicted to increase in winter and decrease in summer. Groundwater supplies may decrease over the 21st century. Reduced summer rainfall and increased summer evaporation would negatively affect wetland plant and animal communities, particularly in rain-fed wetlands. Increased areas of stagnant water during droughts, coupled with increased temperatures could lead to the spread of mosquito borne diseases such as dengue fever and West Nile virus.
Treatment plants, pumping stations and sewers that are designed to cope with the past and present climate may no longer be adequate. The reliability of existing reservoirs, groundwater sources and river intakes will change. Some infrastructure, critical for providing water supplies, will be more vulnerable to flooding. Agricultural production may be negatively affected by water shortages during warm, dry summers, particularly in the south and east. Wetter autumns and winters will also reduce productivity by disrupting the timing of farm management activities, and by causing increased flooding in low-lying agricultural areas. Valuable ecosystem services such as biodiversity and pollination provided by well-managed agricultural land are also threatened by the impact of climate change on water resources.


1) Climate change will affect the amount and timing of rainfall

Great certainty – WILL! Unfortunately the evidence to date suggests it won’t.

2) Summers are likely to get hotter, significantly increasing demand for water

Except, of course, that summers are not getting hotter.

England Mean daily maximum temp - Summer

 3) Although average summer rainfall is not predicted to change, more rainfall may come in big downpours

Except that the opposite has been true so far:



4) This could lead to droughts and floods, possibly at the same time

Or maybe it won’t!

5) Increase the risk of disasters such as wildfires

They really are getting into the world of fantasy now.

6) Increased areas of stagnant water during droughts, coupled with increased temperatures could lead to the spread of mosquito borne diseases such as dengue fever and West Nile virus

Did these diseases spread in the hot, dry summer of 1976?

7) Wetter autumns and winters will also reduce productivity by disrupting the timing of farm management activities, and by causing increased flooding in low-lying agricultural areas.

As the above charts show, farmers have long had to deal with our highly variable weather, whether wet or dry. They will manage, just as they have in the past.


The whole of this section is stacked full with unsubstantiated, apocalyptic nonsense, unworthy of a supposedly serious, official report.

The EA, like all other government agencies and departments, are no doubt under orders to factor climate change into all their planning. It is a pity that they did not use a bit of common sense instead.

  1. May 23, 2018 5:29 pm

    How about first step to graduated water charges ….. except for the elite who have large gardens, fountains or swimming pools.

    • Dodgy Geezer permalink
      May 28, 2018 1:19 pm

      How about providing enough water?

      • miket permalink
        May 28, 2018 8:03 pm

        I agree. Why not more supply? If the population is increasing, why are there no new reservoirs planned? Why is all the concentration on saving water? My understanding is that many plans (if not all) put forward by water companies since the Millennium have been vetoed at ministerial level, if not before, as not being necessary.

      • nigel permalink
        May 29, 2018 7:33 am

        “Why is all the concentration on saving water?”

        I suggest it is another consequence of the lamentable fact that the UK has never “got over” the delicious mixture of pleasure and pain, and self-righteousness and sadism that participating in World Wars I and II brought.

        It is the “Put that light out!” and “Don’t you know there is a war on?” mentality

  2. Bitter@twisted permalink
    May 23, 2018 5:36 pm

    Paul, with your permission, I will use this data to make a complaint to the BBC.

  3. Ian Magness permalink
    May 23, 2018 5:42 pm

    Brilliant analysis Paul – EA argument simply and completely skewered.
    Sadly, the Telegraph covered this equally as pathetically as the BBC.
    Whilst there were a few good points raised about water abstraction in the original “work”, the biggest issue, aside from the AGW delusions, is that it totally ignores the fundamental issue of rainwater capture, not least via reservoirs. We are not, never have been, and never will be short of rainwater in this country – but we need to trap it before it runs off to sea. Using the South East of England as an example, over the last couple of generations we have increased the (water guzzling) population by a huge margin whilst, contemporaneously, building no new reservoir capacity of any significance. Imagine, therefore, another drought like 1976 – we’d be in simply desperate straights.
    I find this EA stance incredible as well as deeply sad. This is a serious subject that needs urgently addressing and it needs appraisal by serious, educated and informed people. Not this stupid and misleading garbage focussing on issues that, in all probability, will never materialise.

    • May 23, 2018 7:20 pm

      Yes Ian. I suspect that this sort of incompetence goes back to the dumbing down of the Civil Service exam. Not sure when this happened. Perhaps someone could enlighten me.
      I took this exam in the early 50s and thereby got into the Navy. I expect it is now a shadow of what it was.

    • Ian Magness permalink
      May 23, 2018 10:49 pm

      Oh dear oh dear! For yet further groupthink from the Telegraph tonight, see this:
      It’s about the puffin population declining in the Farne Islands. Anybody with any sense knows that a primary cause of North Sea seabird decline is the staggering tonnage of sandeels harvested. But, of course, AGW gets at least equal billing in this article. Importantly, we are earnestly instructed, a principal mitigation effect will be to move to renewables! Presumably, all those windmills will stand us in good stead to control the forthcoming puffin population explosion after we go green.

    • bobn permalink
      May 23, 2018 11:35 pm

      Correct Ian. There are 3 issues. First -The hopelessly inadequate capture and storage of our copious rainfall and annual floods. Second – the wasteful and leaky transmission system that isnt even connected into a National grid. So the excess water in Wales cant get to the taps in London. (easily sorted by linking the canal and river systems so lancashire water could be sold in London). Finally – metering the use of all water. i’m astounded that many final users are noe metered, so they might leave taps running all day -who’s counting and whats the cost to them?
      When these 3 issues are addressed i’ll start to pay attention to their water shortage bullshit!

      • Adam permalink
        May 24, 2018 6:00 am

        You forgot the extra million users every year almost all of them in the south east

    • keith permalink
      May 24, 2018 11:02 am

      Yes, and I seem to remember that one of the first things the Cameron Government did under that idiot environment minster Spellman was to cancel a new reservoir the Labour Government had planned for somewhere around north west London. They really don’t know what they are doing. Can anybody else remember this?

      • Gerry, England permalink
        May 24, 2018 12:47 pm

        Yes, I remember Call Me Dave’s liberal government blocking any new water storage in the south-east despite all the immigration into the area. There is an EU directive – isn’t there always – that makes water a scarce resource for no discernible reason. Also with global warming waning, the ecomarxists are looking for new areas to punish people for being alive and water is one of them along with food.

    • David Benn permalink
      May 25, 2018 10:21 am

      Mr Cameron and Ms Spelman had their hands tied by the EU, whose position on the provision of water was to focus solely on reducing demand and minimising wastage, with new reservoirs so far down the list of options as to be all but invisible.

      Hopefully, following next March’s Great Leap Forward, Mrs May (or her successor) can allow the water companies freedom to deliver a better match between supply and demand in the best and most cost-effective way possible.

  4. dennisambler permalink
    May 23, 2018 5:42 pm

    “This could lead to droughts and floods, possibly at the same time”

    You have to love it…..

  5. May 23, 2018 5:43 pm

    Water shortage and drought are connected, but not necessarily cause & effect.
    So if your population rises and you don’t build new dams, then you get water shortages
    when the normal cyclical dry periods come.
    eg Australia, Capetown etc.

  6. HotScot permalink
    May 23, 2018 5:46 pm

    “The EA, like all other government agencies and departments, are no doubt under orders to factor climate change into all their planning. It is a pity that they did not use a bit of common sense instead.”

    Common sense isn’t common at all, nor is it scary, so it’s use is limited by the EA.

  7. May 23, 2018 5:51 pm

    The EA boss and Shukman were both on the BBC news, spreading maximum doom and gloom, all based on the useless climate model predictions for 2050. It confirms what Booker said abourt their brains being addled.

  8. May 23, 2018 5:52 pm

    Its new report says enough water to meet the needs of 20 million people is lost through leakage every day.

    How about tackling that instead of the usual Aunt Sally of ‘climate change’?

    • wert permalink
      May 24, 2018 7:08 am

      Its new report says enough water to meet the needs of 20 million people is lost through leakage every day.

      How about tackling that instead of the usual Aunt Sally of ‘climate change’?

      Trouble is, I don’t think
      a) what they mean with that, and
      b) how you understood that
      match at all. In short, the statement misleads.

      There are about 65 million people in Britain, and they use about 0.14 m³ / per person / per day in domestic use. Now the total water use is much larger, because there are other than domestic uses. So not third of the domestic use is leaked. I’m not sure what they talk about, but I’m pretty certain it is not exactly what one would think. For example, water overflowing a reservoir “could” be considered as a leakage, as well as water evaporating before it is in pipes. Industrial sites use a lot of water, if there is no shortage of it, there is no need to spare. Maybe that’s behind the ‘leakage’.

      I suspect that the statement is built there to cause guilt in case you have a leaking toilet.

      If you include farming, there is a considerable ambiguity in defining, what is a “leakage”, and what is just used water. It is technically possible to reduce water usage in farming, but the central point is that it should not be done prematurely because it does not come without a price.

      The UK is not a country with small water resources. The Climate Change monster is not gonna devastate your islands. But in the game of politics, environmental activism, and government institutions, guilt is being used as a Menckenian method to get more power.

      • May 24, 2018 8:00 am

        ……Industrial sites use a lot of water, if there is no shortage of it, there is no need to spare. Maybe that’s behind the ‘leakage’…….

        I don’t know what you mean by that statement.

  9. May 23, 2018 5:54 pm

    News : Capetown braces for floods
    \\ ALERT: The South African Weather Service has issued a watch for HEAVY RAIN & FLOODING for the drought-hit Cape Town metro as well as in Theewaterskloof catchement area on Thursday. //

  10. DaveP permalink
    May 23, 2018 6:05 pm

    I already do my best to minimise my use of water. For example, I refuse to wash my rubbish – er, “recycling” – before putting it in the bin.

    • wert permalink
      May 24, 2018 7:31 am

      My favourite. Let’s recycle plastics, yeah! Oh my God, they contain some dirt that spoils the recycled plastics with polycyclic PAH compounds! Let’s wash them by hand at home!

      So we use something like 200 grams of water to wash a one-gram plastic container. Anybody seeing a problem?

      • Gerry, England permalink
        May 24, 2018 12:49 pm

        I refuse to use my metered water on my refuse!

  11. geoffb permalink
    May 23, 2018 6:10 pm

    When I saw this rubbish this morning, I knew it was a load of junk and that Paul would soon provide the facts to confirm this…Thankyou. The root cause of water shortage is lack of investment in the infrastructure of the water distribution system. Pipes are old and leak and the only major reservoir construction that I recall is Kielder in Northumberland.

    • keith permalink
      May 24, 2018 11:11 am

      I think it goes deeper than this. Money is not spent on infrastructure as all the water companies are foreign owned and the money is squirreled off to places like the Caiman Islands so they don’t have to pay tax, that is after the Directors have taken their massive cut.

  12. May 23, 2018 6:12 pm

    In general rainfall is the Cinderella of the “AGW is happening now” industry, because it (and water vapour) have not done diddly over the last 150 years, anywhere in the world, besides natural variability, but that has not stopped its deployment by the BBC. A recent example on the BBC Wild Service went something like this:

    “A few years ago here there were floods, but now there is drought, so that shows that if climate change is involved it can happen very quickly!” … cue the satisfied purring of the presenter that the desired message has been conveyed to the gullible majority.

  13. May 23, 2018 6:34 pm

    Smartmeter TV ad narrated by Maxine Peake
    “Malcolm got a smart meter and saved enough energy to power his mobility scooter 1,112 miles every year
    Save your energy for the open road
    Get a SmartMeter”
    ..there was no sarc logo
    That’s 3 miles/day … I bet accounting for hill that’s almost an hours travelling
    So say you had a 3KW motor and 50% wastestage, that’s 6KWh

    • May 23, 2018 8:52 pm

      There was also a full page advert in the Sunday Express extolling the benefits of smart meters this week.

      Presumably funded by Smart Energy UK. It even had a paragraph from Claire Perry, telling us how much we would all save!

      • May 23, 2018 9:01 pm

        Yes, you too can see exactly how fast your money’s disappearing. What are you all waiting for?

      • May 23, 2018 9:36 pm


      • keith permalink
        May 24, 2018 11:13 am

        Can we take her to court for misrepresentation if we don’t get the savings?

    • May 24, 2018 9:59 pm

      I’ve had a reply from SmartEnergyGB about their claims
      They referred me to

      Using an average saving of 2 per cent and the average household consumption (17,690 kWh) the average saving per household equates to 354 kWh.

      Calculation: 17,690 / 100 x 2 + 354kWh

      In July 2017, the government department for Business, Energy & Industrial strategy (BEIS) published figures showing that the average household uses on average 17,690kWh annually.
      Average gas consumption per Household = 13,801 kWh
      Average electricity consumption per Household = 3,889 kWh
      TOTAL average energy consumption per Household = 17,690

      #1 The mobility scooter guy is a pensioner, and therefore comes from a smaller household than average
      #2 So is 354kWh from the SOCKET enough to drive 1,112miles ?
      ie can you drive 3 miles on 1KWh of charge ?
      Remember you will have wasteage in charge discharge process as well as motor energy and beeps and lights etc.

      • May 24, 2018 10:12 pm

        Their typo “+ 354KWh ” should be “=354KWh”

      • May 25, 2018 1:46 pm

        Actually I think you could go for 3 miles on 1kWh on a mobility scooter. A pensioner would be lucky to produce 50W of power but in an ordinary wheelchair could probably still get to the shops. 300+W? Luxury!

  14. May 23, 2018 6:59 pm

    Juist thought this item in the report could do with an answer with evidence – anyone?

    Investment in nuclear power and renewable energy will likely lead to much lower rates of abstraction and consumption by 2050, the study says.
    However, if future energy scenarios involve carbon capture and storage (CCS), this would require much higher freshwater abstraction and consumption levels, as the technology needs extra water to function, and would also increase the amount of cooling water needed at conventional power plants to which CCS equipment is attached.

    I am a farmer, the weather has not changed in its variability in my lifetime (73 yrs), but the ability to go at speed has increased hugely, meaning that the weather is easier to deal with than it used to be.

  15. Jack Broughton permalink
    May 23, 2018 7:55 pm

    As usual a fine balanced response to the fear campaign.
    The graphs do show that rainfall was lower in the late 602 / early 70s, when we last had substantial hose pipe bans. At that time, in desperation the government appointed Denis Howell as minister for droughts and he cured it in weeks, having earlier won the UK the world cup.
    The right answer is to re-nationalise the water industry: as the foreign ownership merely moves UK money abroad (mainly to France) and prevents long term planning of the water system occurring: Ofwat and environment Department have proved themselves useless for many years.

    • bobn permalink
      May 24, 2018 12:00 am

      Jack – yes Ofwat and Defra (Govt ) are useless. So why do you want to re-nationalise water under the useless Ofwat and defra??! Govt will not invest or fix water supply – they engineered the hose pipe bans of the 60s and 70s. Those bans were only needed due to the incompetence of a Sate run water industry! The State is the problem!

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      May 24, 2018 8:19 am

      So the hundreds of billions invested in the UK by foreigners is moving money abroad?

      Infrastructure investors are long term investors. They have paid for the profits up front (that’s how you value something) and paid that amount into the UK. So any money that goes out is simply matching what has come in. I simply cannot understand why people keep making these obviously false claims about “foreign investment”.

      • Jack Broughton permalink
        May 24, 2018 9:31 am

        I’m not against foreign investment, the UK has a massive net benefit from it.

        However, subsidised and long term industries need accountability in my view. The sell-off of the water and power industries has made them market-orientated businesses with little responsibility for their actions: I would call it asset-stripping gone wrong.

        The old CEGB had many faults, but was accountable and responsible for taking a long-view. I certainly also agree with Bob about the low quality of our governance, but at least it is clear who is accountable for costs and long-term security.

        As UK electricity costs follow the expected upward spiral and security falls who will be blamed: not us gov???

  16. Richard Woollaston permalink
    May 23, 2018 8:15 pm

    How depressing. I remember both the empty reservoirs of ’76 and all the fuss a few years ago when someone suggested that large parts of Oxforshire would need to be turned into reservoirs. In the case of the former, a Minister for Rain was appointed and subsequently, indeed, rain did fall. In the case of the latter, the dry period causing water shortages stopped and the panic went away. Natural weather variability? Anyway this latest outburst follows the recently established pattern of extrapolating every set of sub-optimal conditions to an apocalyptic conclusion.

    • bobn permalink
      May 24, 2018 12:03 am

      Richard – what you are describing is only a failure to invest in infrastructure. capture the floods to use in the dry months! I know that sounds radical and it proved beyond the wit of govt.

    • Russ Wood permalink
      May 25, 2018 2:49 pm

      Minister for Rain? And it rained? What did they do – throw him into a volcano or summat?

  17. Chris, Leeds permalink
    May 23, 2018 9:07 pm

    The Environment Agency is like all the other Agencies and Government Departments: infested with green zealots. We have a ‘swamp’ that needs to be cleared…. And have you noticed that none of these people now wants to serve the public and provide what people want; rather they want to ‘tell you what you will be allowed to have”. Civil Servants are no longer servants of the public…

    • dave permalink
      May 24, 2018 6:44 am

      “Civil Servants are no longer servants of the public…”

      That was never their function. They have always been there to help the rulers rule.

      The actual name dates from the 18th Century, when it described the non-military personnel of the East India Company.

  18. markl permalink
    May 23, 2018 9:47 pm

    In my neck of the woods ….. Southern California ….. we go through cyclical periods of drought. We are basically a desert. Without fail every time it boils down to mismanagement of our water resources. We build desalination plants that cost tons of money and often get mothballed because rain comes to the rescue and they are expensive to operate, energy intensive, and not environmentally benign. In the last 5 years the government started blaming it on Climate Change. How convenient for them but it didn’t fool anyone.

  19. Keith permalink
    May 23, 2018 11:14 pm

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I recall number of years back the EU said that there should be no more reservoirs built and that future demand be managed. We are heading the same direction with electricity and what we will be allowed to eat.

    • Ian permalink
      May 24, 2018 9:25 am

      Thank you. I’ve scoured comments looking for this. Another thing they’ll get right with Brexit? As for asking people to be sensible – forget it.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        May 24, 2018 12:54 pm

        Just search the net and you will find the Water Directive.

  20. May 24, 2018 8:02 am

    The same thing happened in the Cape district in South-Africa. Bad planning, population growth, old infrastructure with lots of leakages, people using too much water….and now in a natural drought cycle, global warming is blamed for everything. Today’s weather forecast for the region, warns against floods…lol!

  21. Phoenix44 permalink
    May 24, 2018 8:16 am

    “In other words, whatever climate change the UK has had in the last century has had no discernible effect on rainfall, in either direction”

    Not on rain but on water supply.It is the supply that matters, not the amount of rain, since that can be the same in any given period but not allow the same amount as supply.

    • A C Osborn permalink
      May 24, 2018 9:12 am

      No, it is not “supply” it is “demand” that has changed the most, along with leaks, ie losses.

  22. Jack Broughton permalink
    May 24, 2018 9:22 am

    The BBC radio 4 series “Climate Change and Me” every day this week has been the ultimate in allowing opinionated activists free airtime. Todays woman claimed that the civil war in Syria and the ethnic cleansing in Darfur were due to global warming (regime change was totally missing in the case of Syria). Unbelievable rubbish was broadcast without question: makes the occasional fanatics allowed on “Thought for the day” (which I also listen to) seem totally reasonable.

    I keep the radio safely out of reach during these broadcasts.

  23. May 24, 2018 11:20 am

    We of the 21st century enjoy all of the progress which has taken place, much of it in the 20th century. Now the elite and guilt ridden are demanding we go back to the good old days of the Stone Age. Why is it they never go first to show the way?

  24. May 24, 2018 12:31 pm

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    A brilliant dissection of the latest nonsense being pushed. I remember the harping in the early 2010’s (which to the media is long down the memory hole despite being the same decade) that we were due for perpetual drought and a Mediterranean climate – then it rained and rained and rained. The weather on these islands is always variable, co2 will make zero difference except the lunatic schemes to mitigate a non problem will be as successful as Tim Flannery’s desalination plant boondoggle and hurt the populace whilst the snake sellers will be long gone. If they’ve predicted drought, buy a boat.

  25. Coeur de Lion permalink
    May 24, 2018 9:11 pm

    Pathetic. Sad. Check out the Met Office website Climate Change page for a string of alarmist lies as well.

  26. Dodgy Geezer permalink
    May 28, 2018 12:37 pm

    Why are you worried about rainfall, or water rationing? These are nothing to do with having less water available at your home.

    I am sick and tired of pointing out that water cannot be created or destroyed, and we have the same amount of water on the planet all the time. it can never be ‘short’. Or ‘lost’. Water that leaks simply goes back into the ground water to be recovered again.

    What may indeed be ‘short’ is our inability to maintain an infrastructure to cope with demand. Specifically, we do not build enough reservoirs, pumping stations, purifiers and distribution services to cope with rising population. We do not do this because the water companies make more profits by selling less water at higher rates than they would if they had to invest in proper infrastructure and provide enough water at cheap rates…

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