LONDON, May 23 (Xinhua) -- The first ever major report on water resources in England warned Wednesday that climate change and demand from a growing population could lead to supply shortages by 20100.
The country's southeast, which includes London, could be the worse hit region, the Environment Agency (EA) warned.
The report, titled State of the Environment: Water Resources, has highlighted unsustainable levels of water abstraction, leakage from water companies -- currently estimated at 3 billion liters per day, and demand from industry and the public as key issues to tackle in order to protect the water environment.
In 2016, around 9,100 billion liters of freshwater were taken from rivers, lakes, reservoirs and underground sources in England, Over half (55 percent) is abstracted by water companies for public water supply and more than a third (36 percent) is used for electricity supply and other industries, it said.
Periodic water shortages in parts of Britain in the past have led to actions such as bans on the use of garden hose pipes and sprinkler systems, but the new warning focuses on general water supplies.
Without action to increase supply, reduce demand and cut down on wastage, many areas in England could see significant supply deficits by 20100, said the report.
Emma Howard Boyd, chair of the EA said: "We need to change our attitudes to water use. It is the most fundamental thing needed to ensure a healthy environment but we are taking too much of it and have to work together to manage this precious resource."
Howard Boyd said industry must innovate and change behaviours in order to reduce demand and cut down on wastage, saying people also had a duty to use water more wisely in their homes.
The report showed current levels of water abstraction are unsustainable in more than a quarter of groundwaters and one fifth of rivers, leading to reduced flows which could damage local ecology and wildlife.
It added that unsustainable abstraction has in the past prevented up to 15 percent of rivers meeting a good ecological status, with fears that summer river flows and groundwater levels may decrease further in the future.
A 25-year government environment plan has set out an ambition to reduce individual water use, currently an average 140 liters for each person each day, by working with industry to set a personal consumption target.