Hotter summers and less predictable rainfall as a result of climate change will create an increased risk of droughts and serious water shortages in the UK, the Environment Agency has said.

In a stark warning ahead of the Cop26 summit in Glasgow, the government agency said there had to be far greater focus on the threat to water supply as the country begins to feel the impact of the climate crisis.

Sir James Bevan, chief executive of Environment Agency, said major investments are needed to avoid the so-called ‘Jaws of Death’ – the point on water companies’ planning charts where demand outstrips supply.

“Good water quality is essential – but the right water quantity is existential,” he said. “We need as much emphasis on the latter in the future as we have now on the former.”

Sir James added: “We know what to do to avoid those jaws: reduce demand, by using less water more efficiently; and improve supply, including by investing in the right infrastructure. That means we need to think strategically, radically and long term.”

The Environment Agency has estimated that summer rainfall is expected to decrease by approximately 15 per cent in England by the 2050s, and by up to 22 per cent by the 2080s.

Population growth and climate change will also increase the demand for water – meaning that if no further action is taken between 2025 and 2050, more than 3.4 billion extra litres of water per day will be needed for the UK’s public water supplies.

Read more: msn