Water & Floods

Infrastructure can deliver a safe and reliable water supply and improved flood resilience to keep pace with a changing climate and growing population.

Updated:

London's flood barrier on river Thames and Canary Wharf

With extreme weather events such as floods and drought more likely in future years, cities, towns and villages need to be prepared. Currently one million homes in the UK have more than one per cent chance of flooding in any given year, and there is a 1 in 4 chance of a severe drought before 2050.

Similarly, the demands on our water and waste water systems are increasing as the population grows.

The Commission advises on how government can work with industry and other stakeholders to mitigate such risks with long term plans for adaption and resilience.

For instance, we have made recommendations to government advocating a catchment based approach to flood resilience that avoids only responding to the latest major weather incident after the event, and provides greater clarity to families and businesses on the likelihood of flooding to their property.

To avoid the risk of severe drought, the Commission’s analysis suggests that additional water supply and demand reduction totalling 4,000Ml/day should be delivered by 2050 – the equivalent of well over 22 million bath tubs of water. The Commission’s work on water seeks to inform decision making about the future capacity of the water supply and wastewater systems in England, by increasing capacity and reducing leaks and wastage to reduce the risk of drought.

Water & floods data

A range of water & floods data sets is available to review on our Data page. This includes data sets used in Commission reports, as well as historic data sets. Each can be reviewed online or downloaded. 

Review data

Latest Updates

Plans of action needed next to deliver strategic goals, says Commission
Annual Monitoring Report 2021
Montage of images representing infrastructure, including a woman charging an electric vehicle and a man wearing a mask using public transport

Plans of action needed next to deliver strategic goals, says Commission

Detailed plans for decarbonising energy supply, accelerating the roll out of electric vehicle charge points and connecting hard to reach areas with high capacity broadband are among the next steps needed to ensure government can deliver its aims for levelling up and meeting the net zero target, according to the National Infrastructure Commission. The Commission’s...

17 Feb 2021 By
Letter to Environment Secretary from Commission Chair: floods policy
National Infrastructure Assessment 1

Letter to Environment Secretary from Commission Chair: floods policy

Commission Chair Sir John Armitt has written to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Rt Hon George Eustice MP, setting out the Commission’s views in response to to the government’s recently updated flooding and coastal erosion risk management strategy for England, launched on 14 July 2020.

11 Aug 2020 By
New package of flood prevention measures welcomed

New package of flood prevention measures welcomed

The government had today published a policy statement on flood and coastal erosion risk management. This sets out a range of measures the government proposes taking to improve resilience to flood and coastal erosion risk. In response to the statement, Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission Sir John Armitt said: “This significant package to better...

14 Jul 2020 By
Metering will save us water sooner

Metering will save us water sooner

It’s not surprising that household water consumption has surged during the Covid19 lockdown. We’re washing our hands more than ever, and many of us are home all day using our bathrooms and kitchens. But even before lockdown, some of us were already using more water than we need – by taking long showers, watering our...

15 May 2020 By
Water resources framework offers “bold vision” for future drought resilience
Close up of chrome tap, water running

Water resources framework offers “bold vision” for future drought resilience

The Environment Agency has today published its National Framework for Water Resources. This aims to help reduce demand, halve leakage rates, develop new supplies, move water to where it’s needed and reduce the need for drought measures that can harm the environment. Commenting on the framework, Commissioner Dame Kate Barker said: “With demand for water...

16 Mar 2020 By
Commission vision for drought resilience recognised by engineering experts

Commission vision for drought resilience recognised by engineering experts

The National Infrastructure Commission’s work on improving the resilience of England’s water supply to drought has received the Institution of Civil Engineers’ Chris Binnie Award for Sustainable Water Management. The Commission’s 2018 report Preparing for a drier future made a strong economic case for addressing future drought risk by boosting the resilience of the water...

7 Oct 2019 By
Consultation on flood and coastal erosion in England highlights need for new standard of resilience

Consultation on flood and coastal erosion in England highlights need for new standard of resilience

The Environment Agency has today begun consulting on the national flood and coastal erosion risk management strategy for England proposing a new approach based on a recommendation made in the National Infrastructure Assessment. The Agency’s strategy will ensure the country is prepared for a potential 4° C rise in global temperatures and aims to ensure...

8 May 2019 By
Water shortage warning highlights urgency of resilience
Water running down a metal drain.

Water shortage warning highlights urgency of resilience

The Environment Agency has today called for action to address the threat of water shortages in England’s water supply in the face of pressure from climate change and population growth – following a similar call by the National Infrastructure Commission for action to build a more resilient water infrastructure. The 2018 National Infrastructure Assessment highlighted...

19 Mar 2019 By
Future of Regulation Study: call for evidence
Documents on a desk

Future of Regulation Study: call for evidence

18 Feb 2019
Performance Measures
Performance measures
Cardiff city centre in the autumn viewed from the air

Performance Measures

Data the Commission uses to assess the performance of the UK’s infrastructure systems and the services they provide.

14 Dec 2018
Shoring up our water supplies

Shoring up our water supplies

This week we marked 10 years since the Climate Change Act. Since the passing of this key piece of legislation, we as a country have become international leaders in this field – yet there is clearly much more to do. As well as reducing carbon emissions we also need to prepare for the effects climate...

30 Nov 2018 By
Welcome moves by Ministers to tackle water leakages
Close up of chrome tap, water running

Welcome moves by Ministers to tackle water leakages

Environment Secretary Michael Gove has announced plans to improve the resilience of England’s water supply and set a clear target to halve water leakages by 2050 – matching a key recommendation by the National Infrastructure Commission. Such a move would ensure the country’s water supply system could better withstand droughts. In a speech, Environment Secretary...

27 Nov 2018 By

Evidence_Icon_Turquoise Created with Sketch.

Explore data used in the Commission's research, and gain insights from across UK infrastructure

Join our team of professionals supporting the Commission to provide evidence based and forward thinking advice on infrastructure strategy.