Stark reality: Yorkshire Water predicts what reservoirs could look like in 50 years

Artist impression of a dried out Langsett reservoir in 2071 - no water present and brown landscape
Energy and environment General news Saving water


  • Experts predict that unless action is taken, the UK could face water shortages in the next 25 years – key action includes tackling leakage and reducing the amount customers use 
  • Yorkshire Water predicts it will have 100 million litres less in its daily supply by 2045 – however, 1 in 10 Yorkshire folk don’t believe water shortages will be an issue for another 100 years 

Yorkshire Water’s recent survey found that although almost 50% of people in the region are concerned about water shortages, one in ten don’t believe they will impact the region for another 100 years.  

With the Environment Agency predicting shortages within 25 years if no action is taken, and Yorkshire Water expecting 100 million litres less in its daily supply by 2045 – the water company has released an immersive 360˚ video, which gives a glimpse into what the future of its reservoirs could look like if predictions are correct.  

The water company also revealed three futuristic images, which demonstrate what Fewston, Butterley and Langsett reservoirs could look like in the same time frame.  

To address future challenges, Yorkshire Water has a Water Resources Management Plan. It looks at how it will handle the impacts of increased population and hotter, drier weather due to climate change.  

Key aspects of the plan include reducing the amount of water that escapes from its pipes and engaging with customers to help them understand ways they might be able to use less water. Currently, Yorkshire Water is trialling new technologies that focus on finding leaks quicker and has made a commitment to reduce leaks from its pipes by 50% by 2050.  

According to Yorkshire Water’s survey, the top ways that customers save water are:  

  • Turning tap off while you brush your teeth  
  • Only using the washing machine when you have a full load 
  • Choosing a shower instead of a bath 
  • Using a watering can instead of a hose 
  • Reducing car washing to only when necessary  

Martin Christmas, Yorkshire environment manager for the Environment Agency, said: “What we do with water and how much we use directly impacts people and the environment, including many of the places we care most about – our rivers, lakes and coastal waters.  

“We need to be careful with our water supply. With the weather we experience in the UK it’s easy to think there’s enough to go round, but when you factor in the effects of climate change and population growth, there is a very real risk of water shortages by 2050. Every individual can make a difference; changing some of our daily habits can play a critical role in protecting our water resources.” 

Suzanne Dunn, water resources strategy manager at Yorkshire Water, said: “We can already see and feel the impacts of climate change all around us. Seeing what our reservoirs and environment could look like in 50 years’ time might be surprising and scary to some people, but the important thing to note is that it’s not too late for us to change that future.  

“We’re making headway on our leakage reduction plans, and together with our water-savvy customers, it could really make a difference to the future of water resources.”