What can be learnt from the Somerset flood crisis?

Representatives from government, the water industry, local authorities, large land owners and NGOs are set to gather at the Environmental Water Management Conference, taking place at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole on September 24th.

It is being organised by UK water industry business journal, Water & Wastewater Treatment (WWT). Following the Somerset flooding events that dominated headlines earlier this year, this conference has been organised to address the challenges of balancing economic and environmental decisions.

Dominica Andrews, conference content manager at Faversham House, says, "UK water utilities are facing conflicting pressures of trying to maintain an affordable service, attract investment and deliver on environmental responsibilities. Collaboration, innovation and integrated solutions are essential to move forward. The Environmental Water Management Conference has been developed to break down barriers and help stakeholders move towards an integrated approach to land management and multi-functional solutions."

The conference forms part of WWT's flagship event, Sustainable Water, which is in its third year. Speakers and panellists include: Lord Chris Smith, chairman of the Environment Agency; Tony Harrington, environment director at Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water; Dr. Tony Ballance, director of strategy and regulation at Severn Trent Water; Dr. Diane Mitchell, chief environment advisor at the National Farmers Union; and Carter Strickland, former commissioner for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

Some of the topics lined up for the 2014 event include: sustainable implementation of the Water Framework Directive; linking qualitative value with quantitative financial data to develop wider metrics for decision making; 21st century catchment management; integrating flood risk management with resilience to climate change; water supply system resilience; and integrated approaches to land management and multi-functional solutions.

An attendee of last year's Sustainable Water event commented, "A good balance of presentations which opened up vibrant thought and debate".

The Environmental Water Management Conference is being sponsored by The Met Office with support from the Environment Agency; British Water; CIWEM; Institute of Water; SBWWI; SWIG; Knowledge Transfer Network; Water & Sewerage Journal; Global Water Intelligence; Utility Week; WET News and edie.net.


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