Tackling floods and water waste
(20 October 2020)
We need to look to nature for help so new homes are resilient to climate change according to a new report to MPs and policymakers.
The report, co-written by our geographers, says England could run out of water by 2050 as a result of climate change and increased demand from new housing developments if we don’t act.
Many regions that suffer from too little water during the summer also experience problems with too much water at other times of year.
High flood risk
One in six properties in England are at risk of flooding, and since 2013 85,000 new homes have been built in areas of high flood risk.
The report makes a number of recommendations including:
- The use of Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) and other nature-based solutions to replace traditional drainage systems in new developments to conserve water, provide beautiful outdoor space that supports community well-being, and help nature to thrive. SuDS are slow stores of flood waters, especially from roofs and roads, where water is intercepted by vegetation and then stored in temporary ponds.
- Urgently cutting personal water use from the current national average of 143 litres per person per day to 90 litres by 2050 though different measures including changes to building regulations, mandatory water labelling for fixtures and fittings, and increased metering.
- Rapid acceleration of the introduction of Property Flood Resilience measures such as air brick plates, toilet stoppers, raised electrics and higher ground floors, along with the need for more water efficient devices such as showers, taps and washing machines.
The UK Government has renewed its efforts to build 300,000 new homes annually and one million by the end of the current Parliament.
It’s hoped that practical measures like those suggested in the report could make new communities resilient to climate change and provide safe and comfortable places for people to live.
Find out more
- Read Bricks & Water: Building resilience for England’s homes, from the Policy Connect think tank and the Westminster Sustainable Business Forum.
- Professor Louise Bracken and Dr Sim Reaney, in our Department of Geography, contributed to the report.
- Durham is involved in a number of projects looking at flooding, water waste and sustainability around the world including The Water Hub, Java Flood One (Indonesia) and the Global Challenges Research Fund Living Deltas Hub (Asia).