Water Abstraction

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The abstraction of too much water from rivers, reservoirs or groundwater is harmful to the environment and can compromise the water resources needed by other water users. It is common practice for water to be abstracted from a river. Reasons include the supply of drinking water, irrigation for farming, usage in industry and the generation of energy via hydro-power schemes. Problems occur when too much water is taken from the river – it results in a direct loss of habitat, especially during periods of low rainfall when it is possible that a river could run completely dry. Dams are often constructed to allow the abstraction of water. These structures modify river flows and they can cause environmental problems downstream. With climate change affecting the severity of low flows, this is a problem that will worsen over future years if something is not done. Often there is no viable alternative solution to abstraction, but we can ensure that it is minimised, and done sustainably.