London mayor announces draft water strategy

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is proposing to work with Thames Water and other partners to identify ways to use sewage to provide renewable energy and reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

The proposal is among several that the mayor has outlined in his draft water strategy, which outlines the many challenges that London faces, including a population that is expected to rise from 7.56 million to 9.11 million by 2031; hotter summers; and the Victorian sewers overflow due to heavy rain, sending sewage gushing into the Thames up to 60 times each year.

Proposals in the draft water strategy also include:

  • The water companies fixing the leaky pipes, and working with the Mayor to help Londoners become more water efficient through a London-wide homes energy efficiency programme set to launch next year

  • The Mayor supports the building of the Thames Tideway tunnel under the Thames and the river Lee to greatly reduce discharges of sewage into the river and improve the quality of the water in the River Thames

  • The Mayor encouraging the utility companies to improve the public's awareness of how to become more water efficient

  • Making new homes as water efficient as possible, and encouraging rainwater harvesting, greywater recycling and sustainable drainage through planning policies in the new London Plan

  • Greatly increase the water efficiency existing homes, and the Mayor wants to support water companies to introduce complusory water metering in the capital

  • The Mayor, Boris Johnson, said: "It is easy to take our water, in the river Thames and in our taps for granted. It is a vital resource, which is under pressure from our expanding population and changing climate.

    "Over a quarter of our climate change emissions from home actually come from the water we use and we can all do our bit to become more efficient in the way we use it."

    Clive Coley, the Environment Agency's regional strategy manager for Thames, said: "We welcome the Mayor's proposals to increase water efficiency in both new and existing homes, and look forward to working closely with the GLA and other partners to ensure that there is a secure supply of water for Londoners now and in the future and that the environment remains protected."

    Maureen Gaines
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