Lord Smith to lead public-private UK Water Partnership

"There's nothing more important than water," proclaimed the former head of the Environment Agency, Lord Chris Smith, who is chairing a new public-private body to promote resilience, innovation and growth in the UK water sector.

The UK Water Partnership, launched on Thursday, brings together public and private-sector organisations for the first time to stimulate ideas and develop the products and services that will take on the challenge of global water scarcity.

Smith said the new Partnership will play an important role in promoting both resilience and growth. “With expanding urban concentrations around the world and the growing impacts of climate change, we need to get better at managing water, conserving it, cleaning it, delivering it, and using it. That’s where innovation is going to be so important.

“The UK Water Partnership will bring together people across the UK water community to stimulate ideas and develop the products and services that will take on these challenges for the future.”

Short-term targets

A vast array of public and private-sector organisations have already expressed their support for the UK Water Partnership, including Severn Trent, the Met Office, Innovate UK and Defra. The group aims to add many new members from across the water technology, services and research communities in the near future

The not-for-profit group has already identified several short-term areas for action, including: –

– Developing a catalogue of UK capabilities in water services and products.
– Driving research and innovation in key areas, including, ‘water and agriculture’ and ‘water and cities’.
– Hosting a major international showcase covering the UK’s research and market capabilities.

Full support

The Minister responsible for water at Defra, Dan Rogerson, also welcomed the creation of the new body. “This new partnership offers a huge opportunity for all sectors of the UK water industry,” Rogerson said. “By developing new technologies and driving knowledge and skills, we will be better placed than ever to respond to global challenges. I am certain that by working together, the partnership can break down barriers across the industry and set the standards around the world.”

The Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Mark Walport also lent his support. “Water is vital to our wellbeing, health and economy. I am pleased that both industry and the public sector have agreed to support this very worthwhile initiative. The action that the partnership is undertaking will ensure the future challenges facing us in water security and the global water market are well co-ordinated.

“Numerous examples have shown that industry sectors with a strong private-public leadership are the areas that move forward most quickly and that is why I fully support this initiative.”

Luke Nicholls

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie