9 August 2021
Cambridge City Councillors Naomi Bennett and Hannah Copley have slammed Cambridge Water’s draft drought plan.
The Green Party councillors say the plan fails to acknowledge how serious the situation is and the role that over-abstraction of water, a result mainly of rapid city development, has played in causing it.
Cllr Hannah Copley says: “We are surprised and alarmed that Cambridge Water does not seem to recognise how big a crisis is unfolding. Since July 1, the company’s supply zone has been designated as an ‘area of serious water stress’ and the final drought plan must reflect that.”
The document makes little reference either to the direct, undeniable link between the rapid growth of the Cambridge area and water over-abstraction or to its harmful impacts. Those impacts will only be compounded by the increased frequency of drought periods and the more erratic rainfall that are anticipated as a result of climate change.
The Cambridge Green Party also criticised the draft plan’s failure to address the negative impact of Cambridge Water’s activities on the environment. There is particular concern about chalk streams, which are under threat nationwide and for which water companies are expected to take responsibility to ensure adequate water flow.
The Cambridge Green Party supports the Cam Valley Forum’s call for the introduction by Cambridge Water of baseline restrictions on water use and more appropriate triggers for taking further action when that is needed.
Cllr Copley says: “Cambridge Water’s approach is more suited to Scotland than a region like ours. The company should take immediate action to invest in leakage control, compulsory metering and demand management, in line with its responsibilities.”
Cambridge has the expertise and capacity to become the No.1 water-saving city in England, and Cambridge Water should be providing the necessary leadership, in combination with the local authorities, the private sector and the general public.
Councillors Hannah Charlotte Copley (L) and Naomi Bennett (R)