On January 10th 2024, CIWEM launched their document ‘A Fresh Water Future’ at a well-attended event at the House of Commons. The document sets out 10 recommendations to improve water sector performance and governance and it will help all political parties to craft their manifestos as the General Election looms, hopefully incorporating promises to act upon many of the recommendations.
CIWEM explained how the document was created:
“A Fresh Water Future brought together the views of over 4000 members of the public (via focus groups, immersive on-location research, deliberative online communities and a major, nationally representative public poll) with those of more than 400 experts and stakeholders (via a major survey, workshops and interviews). These identified perspectives, concerns, potential solutions and appetite for change on how the UK’s water is managed. Both public and professional water managers were aligned in calling for a far greater level of priority to be attached to recovering nature and water resilience by the next government.
The project’s ten recommendations start with a comprehensive, independent review of water policy and regulation, instigated by the Cabinet Office as soon as the next government takes office after a general election. This should report inside the first year so recommendations can be implemented over the remainder of its term. Over thirty years on from water privatisation, with widespread urbanisation and agricultural intensification a fresh approach – including potential reform of water regulators – is needed, it argues.”
Stormwater Shepherds UK were pleased to be involved in the composition of this document in a small way, and we hope very much that the politicians listen to, and act upon, the recommendations.
Recommendation 4 is of particular interest to us. It says that government should “increase the level of monitoring through a national environmental monitoring strategy and programme.” This would be very welcome to all the groups working on urban water pollution because we have so very little data to prove the extent of that pollution. The Environment Agency carry out only a tiny number of samples for pollution from Poly Aromatic Hydrocarbons each year, so the extent of pollution from road runoff goes un-noticed. We hope that a new Monitoring Strategy would change this.
As the General Election approaches, you can use the recommendations in the report to encourage your local party candidates to include better water management in their manifesto.
You can read the document in full here: https://www.ciwem.org/news/a-fresh-water-future-report-has-been-launched