Britain's second largest water company says shifts in climate and rainfall mean that it needs a large new reservoir - or its equivalent - within the next quarter century.
If it does not get one there will be frequent summer shortages, warned Severn Trent's managing director Brian Duckworth. ``We don't want our customers to suffer restrictions ever again,'' he said. ``They will not tolerate it in the 21st century.''
The company was looking into alternatives to a large reservoir within its region, probably be the cheapest option. One is to bring water to the Midlands from the huge Keilder Water reservoir in Northumbria, or from Scotland. Another is to take water from the Severn estuary, using a desalination plant.
The company says the statistics show more rain now falls in winter and less in summer across England and Wales. Severn Trent believes the changes will accelerate. The decline in summer rain has pushed up demand from customers sharply. What it wants is extra capacity for collecting and storing more of what falls in winter, and it says it has to be in place by 2020.