Owain Sheppard, of the Environment Agency, looks at the high emission climate change projections for the 2080s and sketches out positive and negative possibilities for the Ebbw catchment.
Owain Sheppard: Right I’ve done a thinking about 2080s scenario, probably about high emissions, really. I looked at four potential outcomes, really. Maybe a bit of a positive on one. If we’ve got increased temperatures, do we actually get some improved tourism benefits and more stay-cations and socio-economic benefits of that? So I’ve got a picture of some people sat on a beach, having a drink, with an ice-cream, playing on a beach in the UK rather than, maybe, travelling abroad. Picking up on changes to crops and things, diversification of that so I’ve got a picture of, supposedly, a ploughed field or something with an alternative crop, with a winter storage pond next to it. So, in a scenario where there’s less water available, agricultural or farmer will store water, when there’s plenty of water available, at those times when we’ve got a lot, to save it for the summer when there’s gonna be reduced supplies. And then there’s just a picture of a plate with some food on it with, potentially, some different foods on that plate. And then your classic drought-y picture of a river that’s got a little trickle, running down the middle of it with two fish carcasses on it and just thinking there around the changes in temperature and, potentially, certain species like salmon or shad fish which, in certain catchments, may not be around because the conditions just aren’t suitable for them, in the future. And then another socio-economic one with a picture of a house coupled against some reservoirs that are very drawn down and this house has got some rainwater harvesting on it, smart meters and just thinking a bit about looking at the demand side of it, rather than if there’s gonna be reduced supplies, some sort of push to think about the ways that we use the water, to reduce that so, if there’s gonna be less water around, we still can be resilient to it.