1. ITV Report

Warning about the 'critical' state of the country's water supplies

Water use in the home could be cut by around a third, the ICE estimates Photo: PA

There's a warning today about the 'critical' state of the country's water supplies.

The Institution of Civil Engineers says the impact of climate change and increasing population cannot be ignored.

They call for universal water metering with discretionary tariffs to charge households more for high water use activities such as car cleaning and watering gardens along with social tariffs to protect vulnerable customers.

Despite the recent heavy rainfall supplies are still very low and could worsen were there to be another dry winter.

The engineering body said measures were needed, ranging from the construction of new reservoirs and small scale water storage to making it easier to share resources between water companies and encouraging homeowners to save water.

Water use in the home could be cut by around a third, the ICE estimates, but as consumers pay just £1 a day for unlimited water use there is little incentive to value the resource.

New properties could be built with systems that recycle rainwater for use in flushing toilets, which use around 30% of the drinkable water supplied to homes.

But the ICE ruled out the construction of a "national water grid" which could pipe water across the country from areas of high rainfall to places with high demand.

The ICE said such a system would be "extremely costly" and energy intensive and would take many years to construct - by which time the situation would have worsened.

The report from the ICE gives the UK's water security a rating of four out of 10.

They call for a long-term strategic "roadmap" to be developed by spring 2014 for managing water resources in the UK up to 2025 to ensure security of supplies.