NT calls for joined up approach to water

The different bodies that manage water in the UK must work together better to cope with increasing risk of flood and drought - and Defra should take the lead in bringing them together.

That is the conclusion of a new report from the National Trust, which has called for urgent action to manage water resources.

From Source to Sea said effective water management needed to start at the source where it could give the most benefits to communities and land downstream.

Fiona Reynolds, director-general of the National Trust, said it was time for the different parties to stop “working in silos doing their bit” and to take a more joined up approach.

“We are setting out in this document that we want to play our part in a new approach to managing water,” she said. We are going to have to change the way we think about water.”

Mark Walsingham, deputy head of rural surveying, added: “Defra needs to take the lead here, but a lot of what is needed is innovative work in partnership to trial these things and give people confidence in them.”

The report sets out a five-point action plan to deliver a better way of conserving precious water resources and reducing flood risk.

This includes avoiding confusion and conflict between policies and funding programmes for water schemes, and more partnership working.

There should also be a focus on good land management, with financial rewards for protecting water quality and using land to reduce flood risk, more advice and training for those working on the ground, and giving the public a better understanding of water scarcity and flooding issues.

A further recommendation is that all domestic properties should be put on water meters. The National Trust itself is aspiring to have all its properties metered by 2010.

Kate Martin

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