B5: Water bodies achieving sustainable abstraction criteria

Final Final

Short description

This indicator shows changes in the percentage of surface waters (rivers, lakes, reservoirs and estuaries) and groundwater (including wetlands fed by groundwater) where sustainable abstraction criteria are met. River flows and groundwater levels are sustainable when they support ecology that is only slightly impacted by human activity. The indicator is affected by changes in water use, both in relation to leakage and personal consumption (see E8 Efficient use of water). This indicator is also sensitive to effects of future climate change on rainfall and consumption and shows the need for adaptation.

Data on WFD Cycle 2 site classifications are published as part of the Water Environment (Water Framework Directive) (England and Wales) Regulations 2017 and the Abstraction Reform Report 2019.

Trend description

In 2019, 85% of surface water bodies supported required flow standards and 73% of groundwater bodies were sustainable. Both of these results represent a one percentage point increase from the equivalent figures reported in 2018. In 2017, when the timeseries began, 82% of surface water bodies supported required flow standards and 72% of groundwater bodies were sustainable.

Sub-categories

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This table provides metadata for the interim or final indicator presented above.

Indicator name

Water bodies achieving sustainable abstraction criteria

Indicator reference

B5

Outcome Indicator Framework theme

Water

Headline indicator status

Water and water environment

Relevant goal(s) in the 25 Year Environment Plan
  • Clean and plentiful water
  • Thriving plants and wildlife
Relevant target(s) in the 25 Year Environment Plan
  • Reducing the damaging abstraction of water from rivers and groundwater, ensuring that by 2021 the proportion of water bodies with enough water to support environmental standards increases from 82% to 90% for surface water bodies and from 72% to 77% for groundwater bodies
  • Restoring 75% of our one million hectares of terrestrial and freshwater protected sites to favourable condition, securing their wildlife value for the long term
Position in the natural capital framework
  • Condition of assets - freshwater
Related reporting commitments
  • Water Environment (Water Framework Directive) (England and Wales) Regulations 2017
  • Relevant to Sustainable Development Goal 6.4.2
  • May support Climate Change Risk Assessment and the Adaptation Sub-Committee’s assessment of the National Adaptation Programme, under the Climate Change Act (2008)
Geographic scope

England; data for individual water bodies are also available.

Status of indicator development

Final

Date last updated

11 June 2021