Wet wet wet: water quantity AND quality

  • At the OECD’s recent “Meeting the Water Reform Challenge” gathering, the need for water management reform was the focus of debate.
  • With increasing challenges posed by rapid urbanisation, population growth and changing economic dynamics maintaining water quality and quantity will require a concerted effort by policy makers.
  • Closer to home, recent findings from the UK’s Climate Change Adaptation Reporting suggests that cooling water availability poses a major risk to the power generation sector while recent precipitation patterns are already generating calls for spring/ summer hose pipe bans in the south and east.
  • Combating water scarcity will require a blend of strategic financial planning, tariffs, taxes and transfers while policy makers may also benefit from placing water quantity on an equal footing as water quality.

The challenge for policy makers is to balance the water needs of households and industry and in a world where climate change is expected to alter precipitation patterns and groundwater recharge rates there is need for innovative, flexible thinking to improve water management.

*Gathered from expert discussion.

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