The national policy conference for the water sector or 'Future Water Conference' recently hosted its annual meeting at the Royal Geographical Society in London, June 25. With this year's theme 'Building resilience: A sector fit for the future', its host John Vidal, Guardian environment editor, made it clear during his opening speech that a ‘nexus based approach’ is what is needed.
The conference looked at the major issues the UK government needs to consider in order to secure resilience and leadership to build a water sector fit for the future. In the year when water is top of the agenda, this conference presented the opportunity to set in place policies that will influence the next phase for the UK water sector, which is facing challenges brought about by climate change and a growing divide in affordability across the country.
Anne McIntosh MP, Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee stated that “We need to work more with nature”. Ian Barker, Head of Water, Land and Biodiversity, Environment Agency addressed the conference raising that “the biggest challenge is uncertainty. Populations are increasing. Will the per capita consumption rates of an increased population rise or fall? Where will they all live? Are water conservation and demand management measures working? Recent extremes of droughts and flood have forced an evaluation of water infrastructure resilience. We need to be better prepared for future shocks”.
The conference workshops further defined innovations and perspectives that would help build resilience and secure the water sector's future.
Damian Crilly of the International Water Association (IWA) hosted the workshop on Water Infrastructure Solutions. This workshop was part of the Nexus Dialogue on Water Infrastructure Solutions. It highlighted how water, energy and food systems are interconnected and have become increasingly more complex and dependent upon one another.
What was shown is how a disturbance in one system can destabilise others. This underpinned the relevancy of a nexus based approach. The requirement for cross-sectoral dialogue in water, energy and food sectors was endorsed by the workshop participants.
The Nexus Dialogue provides a global platform for sharing experiences, lessons, tools and guidelines on how portfolios of water infrastructure and technologies can address nexus challenges.
For more information, please contact Damian.Crilly@iwahq.org