Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, has warned that England may not have the water to supply its needs in 25 years if the country continues on its current course.

Speaking at the Waterwise conference today, he suggested that a rise in demand for water, coupled with climate change, will eventually result in the "jaws of death" - the point at which unless the country takes action to change things, it will not have enough water to supply its needs.

In his speech, Sir Bevan urged that action was needed to reduce demand and increase supply. 

He said that reducing leakage, more water metering, and new building regulations to drive greater water efficiency all had a part to play, as well as finding ways to cut down the amount of water we each use as individuals. More desalination plants and more reservoirs were also a must.

Sir Bevan also spoke about what steps the Environment Agency was taking on this vital issue. He said: "We are also working with the government to set the right level of ambition for water efficiency. We are particularly interested in specific ideas on how we could get this country to Waterwise’s ambitious target of 100l per person per day. 

"That too will require a range of measures. Water labelling is one example – ensuring all products that use water, like a toilet or a dishwasher, bear a label clearly identifying how water-efficient or not they are, so people can choose products which will reduce water use.

"Better building standards is another – done right, these can reduce the amount of water used in new and existing properties without adding cost or reducing people’s quality of life.

"Recent research showed that a mandatory water label for water-using products combined with product standards and building regulations could reduce per capita consumption by 30l a day in 25 years."