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We can't delay action to keep Britain's taps running

The heat wave we are experiencing is squeezing our precious water supplies. Schools have even closed their doors after taps ran dry because demand for water outstripped supply.

It is only likely to get worse as time goes on. Future projections of hotter, drier summers could result in reduced water levels, with some rivers potentially losing half of their water.

There will also be greater demand for water to drink, keep cool and sustain gardens and crops. However, we can alleviate the pressure on the system.

Thinking about water efficiency at home must become the norm, from shorter showers to installing water butts in gardens.

Smart meters for water can help create a water-saving culture as we do for gas and electricity. These devices are already helping people conserve energy.

Farmers will need more water to grow their crops and feed the nation.

The Government is already making it easier for some farmers to build larger on-farm reservoirs to water crops during hot and challenging summers. We need to do more.

Astonishingly, we have not built a drinking water reservoir since 1991 despite our population increasing by 10 million in the decades since.

According to the National Infrastructure Commission, we must build 30 more reservoirs and new pipelines to move water supplies around the country.

The three planned reservoirs in Oxfordshire, Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire are very welcome.

But there is more to do. Unacceptably, we lose over one trillion litres of water in England and Wales through leaky pipes. Clearly, the water sector desperately needs to upgrade its ageing infrastructure.

Delivering the investment the Government announced earlier this year to boost water resilience will be transformative.

We must take these crucial steps to keep our taps running as our summers get hotter: we can't delay. First published by the Daily Express. Philip Dunne MP (Ludlow) is a member of the Conservative Environment Network.

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