Whilst Carbon is at the top of the agenda at COP26, it is actually through Water that most of us will start to see the impacts of Climate Change. The atmosphere is warming and we are already seeing big changes to the water cycle. These include increasing risk of extreme rainfall, and the risk of longer periods without rain. In Reading we will need to adapt to these changes.
With a future of hotter, drier summers, we expect a bigger risk of drought and water shortages. So we need to get used to using less water. That means:
- better habits so we waste less water (eg turning taps off, and shorter showers)
- fixing leaks (from taps, to pipes, to toilet cisterns)
- installing water saving devices and low water-use white goods (eg dishwashers and washing machines)
- smart metering so Thames Water can manage our supply as best as they can
- water reuse opportunities (from rainwater harvesting, to grey water recycling, and irrigation opportunities)
- research – so we are better prepared and we know what the best options are
The climate projections are also predict a future with milder, wetter winters. With the increase in rainfall, we will see an increase in the risk of flooding. We need to get ourselves and our community prepared for this, which means:
- find out if you are at risk from flooding: Check the long term flood risk for an area in England – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- remember to check as well if you have friends or family at risk
- if you are at risk Sign up for flood warnings – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) and read this guidance on How to plan ahead for flooding – GOV.UK (check-for-flooding.service.gov.uk)
- even if you are luck enough to be outside of risk areas, remember that big flood can affect transport links for all of us.
As a town we also need to
- look for opportunities to manage flood risk – see The Thames Valley Flood Scheme post
- reduce the amount of storm water that “runs-off” our roads and roofs – considering Sustainable Urban Drainage Schemes (SUDS), green roofs and any opportunity to break up our hard surfaces
- and research – to make sure we are well informed and doing the best we can to get prepared.
Find out more and get involved
You can read more about our Water Theme (here). This includes our Action Plan, and our Vision…to make Reading the most water aware town in the UK.
Building up a good communication plan is vital to the success of our theme. We are very pleased to be working with Ailuna at the moment, and we are looking forward to sharing more with you early next year.
Another project that we are keen to help with is to improve the Kennet Meadows. This area of flood plain has the potential to be an important wetland habitat, with opportunities for capturing carbon as well. We will be working closely with our colleagues in the nature theme on this.
If you want to get involved, please contact water[@]readingcan.org.uk.
Chris Beales | Water Theme Lead