Anglian Water is today unveiling its blueprint for ensuring there is enough water available to support the region over the next two and a half decades.

The water company has convened its first Water Summit where over 160 of the region’s leaders and key decision makers are meeting to discuss the proposals and learn how Anglian Water is addressing the global and local water challenge.  

Guests include some of the UK's leading experts on sustainability and climate change, Defra, local authority leaders, Local Enterprise Partnerships, consumer representatives, environmental campaigners and senior representatives from some of the region's leading businesses.  

Adventurer and TV star Ed Stafford, who recently walked the length of the Amazon, also made a keynote speech about the value of water to the planet and former BBC Environment Correspondent, Sarah Mukherjee, compeered the event.  

The 25-year Water Resources Management Plan, launched at the Summit today, sets out how the company plans to balance the burgeoning demand for water with the amount expected to be available in future.  

Globally, demand for water is set to increase by 30 per cent by 2030 with demand for food soaring as the world’s population reaches nine billion. More locally, a rapidly growing population, climate change and increasingly erratic weather pattern are all placing the East of England’s water supplies under increasing strain.  

To explain the twin-track approach Anglian Water is taking to tackle these pressing challenges while still supporting regional growth, the company’s Managing Director, Peter Simpson, spoke to open the event:  

“We’ve a proud heritage of innovation and achievement in the East of England, and we’ve been a powerhouse of growth and development in sectors such as technology, agriculture and tourism for decades.  

“But if we’re to continue along that track, we need to plan now to make sure the right resources are available, where and when we need them. Of those resources, water is arguably the most vital – even if it’s the one that’s often forgotten.  

“It’s our job to make sure there’s enough for homes and businesses now, and in the future. We have to do this while protecting the environment – something that is a very special part of the landscape in the East.   

“This plan sets out how we believe we can achieve this balance, but what our customers and stakeholders tell us will influence the final plan we agree on.”  

Anglian Water is urging people to share their views on the proposals which include helping customers use water more efficiently, spending even more money on reducing leaks, storing more water in new reservoirs, and the prospects of using technologies like desalination to find new sources of water.  

The plan also asks specific questions such as whether customers think the company should spend more to reduce the risk of water restrictions (such as hosepipe bans) during droughts, and whether it should roll out water metering across the whole region to encourage reductions in consumption.  

Peter continued: “In the Anglian region we face particular challenges with some of the driest and lowest lying parts of the UK, and we support a population that is growing fast. If we took no action, by 2030 we would have a severe water shortage of around 550 million litres each day. That’s roughly half the water we currently supply every day.  

“This plan builds on the positive work we’re doing already and shows how we intend to safeguard against potential future water shortages. To achieve this while still supporting economic growth, not just as a water company, but as a region, we need to innovate and collaborate to transform the future.”  

The Water Resource Management Plan will be available to the public here until 22 August when all the feedback will be taken into account and a final version of the plan submitted to the water regulator, Ofwat.  

Anglian Water’s Water Summit was held on Wednesday 3rd July at Peterborough’s KingsGate Centre. Other speakers included leaders from the Environment Agency, National Farmers Union, Sustainability East and IGD, the food and consumer goods insight organisation.