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Water UK Resilient Water Resources Event

Last week I attended the Water UK Resilient Water Resources event. Many assume that, with so much rain, the UK has no issues with water resources, however, with such a high population density that is not the case. For example, in SE England there is less water per person available each year than in many Middle Eastern countries.

The event provided good insights and interesting debate. Richard Ackroyd (CE Scottish Water) and Chris Loughlin (CE South West Water) gave overviews of some of the initiatives their organisations are pursuing. Trevor Bishop (EA Head of Water Resources) discussed Green Growth, resilience and lowest sustainable cost, and said regulators must be less myopic. Richard Benyon MP (Defra Minister) covered some of the proposals in the new Water Bill, such as more competition and choice, reforms to abstraction (this may take some time), and most interesting changes to planning law to ensure water sustainability is covered.

The debates and discussions covered water security and sustainability, and I facilitated a good discussion on how to engage stakeholders. The general view is more should be done at source, working with farmers to reduce harmful runoff, with manufacturers to use water more effectively, etc. A recurring theme was that 'one size does not fit all', and solutions must be tailored to needs.

The final debate was 'this house believes a measured pace of environmental change is the only realistic option'. Good argument was put forward on both sides, however the final vote was a resounding 'no', and there was a clear view in the room that action needs to be taken now in order to ensure a sustainable future for our water resources.

It is up to all of us to deliver these objectives in a truly sustainable way.

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