Tuesday, 19 June 2012, 5:10 PM
A report published by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) Scotland on 13 June has warned that the impacts of both climate change and population growth will put added pressure on Scotland’s water resources as rainfall is less predictable and demand continues to increase. The Institution is calling on government to ensure Scotland’s water industry is fit for the future, and has also warned of the environmental impacts of selling water via long-distance transfers.
The report, The State of the Nation: Water 2012 contains a number of recommendations, including:
- A UK Water Security Task Force should be established and the Scottish Government should produce a national water resource management roadmap.
- An interim Hydro Nation report should be developed to reflect on progress and outstanding outcomes in addition to the 3 year report to be tabled before Parliament.
- Scottish ministers, the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) and the Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS) should address the tension between reducing our carbon footprint and maintaining high water quality standards.
- ICE welcomes Scotland's Hydro Nation ambitions, but believes that Scottish ministers should reject the idea of a UK national water grid that would lead to the physical export of Scotland's water to places of need at times of scarcity in other parts of the UK. Such a solution would be too costly and too environmentally damaging.
- More work should be done to challenge the public perception that water is a ‘free’ resource.
- Consideration should be given to universal metering complemented with discretionary and social tariffs.
Commenting on the report, ICE Scotland water expert and past ICE President Paul Jowitt said:
"It is unhelpful to regard water in Scotland as a virtually unlimited resource because there is no guarantee that it will be as readily available in future. We have a fantastic opportunity to generate economic and social benefits for Scotland by maximising the potential of our water supplies however we must be careful to do this in the most sustainable way possible, protecting our natural resources in the long-term.
"The difficulty we face in Scotland currently is that people often see no need to use water sparingly because it appears to be so plentiful. However there are a lot of expensive processes that have to happen between water falling from the sky and it coming out of a household tap, and yet we use this expensive drinking water for all sorts of domestic uses such as watering the garden and washing the car.
"This is not sustainable in the long-term, and we believe a public awareness campaign is needed to impress its real value on people."
Access the full report here
Further information on Scotland’s Hydro Nation consultation