Sustainable development: Managing the demand for water

In July, the Department of the Environment (DoE) issued a consultation paper outlining possible measures to achieve sustainable use of water resources (ENDS Report 211, pp 32-33 ). Responses to the paper have revealed that both the water industry and environmental groups are divided on major issues such as water metering, little enthusiasm for tradable abstraction permits, and no consensus on how water leakages from mains should be controlled.

The consultation document was issued by the DoE in response to the drought which has affected large areas of England for the last four years, the rising cost of water, and the publication of a water resources development strategy by the National Rivers Authority (NRA). This concluded that water resources in southern and eastern England were a matter for concern because of rapid population growth and low rainfall.

The NRA recommended "urge

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