Drinking water supplies should be supplemented with treated sewage effluent as a means of averting a national water crisis, the ICE said this week.
In its annual 'State of the Nation' report published this week the ICE recommends that effluent be put back into rivers and reservoirs at suitable locations for extraction to municipal supply. 'It is a resource that is not really being used at the moment. It is a relatively untapped way of providing drinking water to meet growing long term needs,' said ICE water board chair John Lawson.Lawson added that initially water companies should discharge effluent into rivers and reservoirs, rather than treating the effluent and directly putting it into supply - a move which he described as ' probably a step too far at the moment'.The suggestion was met with a mixed response from water companies. Industry representative body Water UK denied that there was a water shortage and criticised the ICE for labelling effluent re-use a 'radical solution'.'The water cycle means that some of the water abstracted for public supply has been treated to a high standard and returned to the environment,' it said 'There is no intention or need to change the current policy on effluent reuse.'This year's State of the Nation report has seen little improvement in the grades the ICE has handed out to its chosen sectors. Energy and Water, both headline grabbers over the past 12 months, provide much of the controversy.The UK's infrastructure an overall C- grading - up from D+ last year. It also includes a wish list of projects and grades across all sectors which include energy, waste management, water and wastewater, flood management, rail, roads, airports and seaports.For a full report go to: www.ice.org.uk/state_of_the_nation