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The overdue Water White Paper published today (December 8) lays out the Government’s plans for the industry.

Originally scheduled for release in July the paper sets out how to increase competition among suppliers, improve conservation and meet the demands of climate change.

However, it is not until about half way through the report, on page 52 of just over 100, that it looks at energy.

A surprising fact given that the paper itself points out the energy sector is licensed to abstract more water than any other sector including for the public water supply.

And, with the Government backing an a boost in the UK’s nuclear infrastructure, pushing biomass and coal and gas look like remaining main stays, the sector’s need for water is only likely to increase.

As the paper states in the coming decades the UK’s energy infrastructure ‘will be substantially rebuilt’ and it need for water ‘may increase’ as the sector tackles hikes in demand and pushes new lower carbon technologies.

The paper also calls for more research on how water intensive plans for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) will be.

CCS has been a corner stone of current energy secretary Chris Huhne’s plan for the sector as he hopes to promote more ‘clean’ coal and other fossil fuels.

Luke Walsh

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