Key figures meet to discuss sustainable water use04/07/2012
Key figures meet to discuss sustainable water use
This roundtable discussion was hosted by the Guardian, in association with Anglian Water Business. The event was held under the Chatham House rule, where comments aren’t attributed in order to encourage open discussion.
Despite the recent rain, a question remains over the future of Britain's water supply. A growing population, the need to build more homes – often in water-stressed areas – and the effect of climate change make long-term planning difficult.
A limited resource
A key topic at the discussion was the fact water can no longer be seen as a limitless resource and how this can be addressed.
Water underpins business, whether it is integral to a production process or to flush the toilets. Participants agreed that action tends to come from businesses which are large water users because they are noticing the costs to their bottom line. There is still work to be done to increase this understanding among SMEs.
Central to this is the need for all businesses to start viewing water in the same way as they would any other utility – as a resource that needs to be paid for. As water scarcity creeps up the agenda water strategies will soon become as commonplace as carbon strategies.
Households an important area to tackle
Half the amount of water used in the UK is used domestically. A participant suggested people see water as a free, on-demand commodity; being able to physically see how much water they were using was the best way to change their habits. "People have struggled to give water a real value," it was generally agreed.
The group also identified the need for more education and communication. Good, solid advice and information on water use needed to be communicated widely alongside educating people about what goes on behind the scenes to get water into our taps.
These discussion notes were edited from the Guardian website