Water Shortages and Dengue Fever Could Hit England by the 2050s

By Gary Cutlack on at

The Environment Agency has had a go at counting up all the water, and the results will shock you. The horror headlines are that England, particularly the sweltering south east corner, could be dried-up and diseased and plagued by shortages inside 30 years, as the country slowly runs out of water.

The EA's stats are particularly damning for the water supply franchises, as they say that 3bn litres of the water that's taken out of the environment for our tea and toilets is wasted through leaky pipes each day, adding that our current levels of water abstraction from rivers and groundwater reserves are "unsustainable" at current levels.

We need to start thinking of water as a thing that'll eventually run out, like toothpaste. The EA's chair Emma Howard Boyd explained: "We need to change our attitudes to water use. It is the most fundamental thing needed to ensure a healthy environment but we are taking too much of it and have to work together to manage this precious resource. Industry must innovate and change behaviours in order to reduce demand and cut down on wastage – and we all have a duty to use water more wisely at home."

Oddly, the drying-out of England may also lead to a rise in waterborne diseases like dengue fever and West Nile virus, as global warming and hotter stagnant water that'll lay about the place during the Mad Max droughts of the future could invite mosquitoes in to the country. [Environment Agency]