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Water efficiency vital for national food security


With the world's population likely to rise by three billion people by 2050, ensuring food security is high on the global agenda, particularly in light of increasing environmental challenges. An assessment of the UK’s food security has just been published by DEFRA, in which water scarcity is highlighted as an important issue. The assessment highlights that improved water efficiency is required to increase cereal yields per unit of water.

The full news article can be viewed on the Water UK website at

More information about DEFRA’s assessment can be found on their website at


Hilary Benn’s decisions on water company plans leave Thames Water facing public enquiry


Water resource plans for three water companies in England, each with a significant reliance on groundwater, require further consideration in public according to Environment Secretary Hilary Benn. Thames Water’s and South East Water’s plans will be subject to public enquiry whilst a public hearing on Portsmouth Water’s plan is proposed. It is the first time that water companies have been required to prepare, consult on, publish and maintain plans about how they will manage water resources sustainably whilst still meeting demand. The draft plans were prepared last summer and have been reviewed by the Secretary of State. Ten of the 21 water companies in England have had their plans approved for final publication, a further eight are required to supply additional information.

To read the full news article please visit DEFRA’s website at


Wettest July since 1888 brings unsettled weather


High rainfall throughout July greatly reduced soil moisture deficits causing a notable increase in river flows and new peak July flows in some rivers in the west of the country. Groundwater levels however remain within their normal summer range as July’s rainfall failed to cancel soil moisture deficits in most aquifer outcrop areas. With the rest of the summer expected to be unsettled and indications of a wet winter, groundwater recharge is expected to start much earlier than normal.

To read the full hydrological summary for the UK please visit CEH’s website at


Underground rivers on Mars


Eruptions of boiling water from Ascraeus Mons, one of Mars’ biggest volcanoes, carved sinuous channels 1-2 km wide, according to Dr John Murray of the Open University. Murray proposes that some of these channels may have been carved beneath the surface as the water flowed underground. The occurrence of a warm, wet underground environment protected from radiation provides greater opportunity for life to have developed on Mars. The idea of underground channels is not so unusual since they’ve already be found to exist at the Piton de la Fournaise volcano in Réunion Island.

For the full news article please visit


A warm June but groundwater levels within normal summer range


June provided warm weather and frequent showers with rainfall only just below average. However soil conditions were very dry and evaporative losses were high such that surface water run-off to rivers was generally low. Groundwater levels in most outcrop locations were also below average but within a normal summer range. Whilst Scotland and Northern Ireland have a near average January-June rainfall total, the January to June rainfall total for England and Wales appears to be the 3rd driest since 1976. The high summer and autumn rainfall in 2008 helping to sustain water resources during the dry period.

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