The water industry needs to pull together with other sectors to meet the challenge of climate change, Environment Agency chair Emma Howard Boyd told a gathering of over 200 water industry professionals at a British Water networking reception.
Addressing the association’s annual Winter Reception, held at the House of Lords on 11 February, she said, “By working together there are big opportunities for global Britain, but more importantly, there are big opportunities to solve the environmental challenges of our time. The availability and use of water is high on the list.”
Reflecting on the devastation of recent storm events, Howard Boyd said that climate change makes for bigger and more frequent events, along with more shortages. “Water is the frontline of climate change impact in this country, both too much of it and too little of it. And that is why it is crucial that alongside commitments to net zero we also talk about adaptation and resilience.”
Giving weight to the Adapt Now report from the Global Commission on Adaptation, where she represented the UK, Howard Boyd said the document “put a very strong mandate around adaptation and resilience.” The commissioners’ analysis finds that investing US$1.8 trillion globally from 2020 to 2030 could generate US$7.1 trillion in total net benefits and water resource resilience is one of five areas considered ripe for transformation.
Also addressing the gathering, British Water chairman Chris Loughlin took the opportunity to congratulate the Earl of Selborne on his retirement from the House of Lords and to thank him for hosting the British Water Winter Reception since 2011.
Chief executive Lila Thompson welcomed new members and urged all members to engage closely with the association, “We want to advocate on your behalf,” she said, “we are your voice.”