Taking Responsibility for Water


Water is our most vital resource and global water security is a really important agenda. Alongside food and energy security, water security is central to economic growth, health and social well-being in all countries.

On Monday a new report was published that looks at these issues. It’s very timely as the United Nations also published a report on the same day looking at the potential threats arising to food production from land degradation and water shortages.  

In the UK, we take for granted that water supply meets demand, with households and businesses expecting access to this precious commodity at all times. In other parts of the world, many poor people are less fortunate, without such easy access to water and services like sanitation.

This is a real priority issue. It is important to realise that in our interconnected world individual countries like the UK cannot think about water in isolation. Every country draws on the water resources of those countries they trade with, in the form of water contained in food and used to manufacture products. Each country has its water footprint that can extend well beyond its borders.

Collaboration within the UK and internationally is vital to safeguarding future global water security. The UK is a world leader in water research, particularly in the global water cycle and its interaction with climate change. Over the past year, my office, along with the Living With Environmental Change programme and the UK Collaborative on Development Sciences have been looking at how we can use and develop the UK’s skills and knowledge of water to help meet the ever increasing demands on the global water sector.

This work has been steered by the UK Water Research and Innovation Partnership (UKWRIP) established earlier this year, and which I chair. Membership is composed of private, public and third sector organisations. The Partnership has been working with many representatives from government, academia, business, and charities engaged in the water sector to develop the UK Water Research and Innovation Framework (UKWRIF). It has been a truly collaborative effort to set out a strategic approach to the highly diverse and interrelated challenges, by highlighting key priorities, and mechanisms to ensure better coherence and co-ordination of different public funding schemes for water research and innovation.

The Framework was launched on Monday at a very timely and relevant Parliamentary Reception and Exhibition event, highlighting the work of UK companies in developing new technologies for the water sector both domestically and internationally. It was being hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Water Group, a cross-party group of MPs and peers. It was with real regret that I wasn’t able to be there, as I was chairing a meeting of the UK-Japan Joint Commission on Co-operation in Science and Technology. This will explore areas for potential collaboration, including environmental issues.

I am really pleased that we have been able to develop this Framework and hope that the collaboration across the many organisations established through the Partnership will continue to ensure that it is taken into action. This will contribute to the vision that by 2030 the UK will be a key contributor in providing integrated solutions in water security and sustainability.

This will allow individuals, communities and businesses to benefit from productive, equitable water systems and ecosystem services. As a result, health improves, communities develop, the green economy grows, and the environment is protected and enhanced.

3 Responses to Taking Responsibility for Water

  1. Pete says:

    Interesting, I never considered that each country has a water footprint as well as a carbon footprint. Certainly, only this kind of international collaboration can yield any lasting improvements.

  2. Pingback: All-party water group meeting | Waterstink


    cc: Professor Sir John Beddington

    Good Morning Anna

    Further to our recent conversations I wondered if you had given any further thoughts with regards to presenting the teaching of Water Conservation in The Workplace.

    I have attached the above links, although I am sure you are fully aware of the Green Deal being promoted by the Government and the training initiatives the Government are investing in. However, as you will see from the links and info attached, there is no reference to water conservation/auditing which clearly has an impact on energy and carbon auditing.

    Riva Global has recently achieved the final 10 of the UKTI Export to Growth Competition for the Trident TAP Auditing Programme and will be presenting in the final for overseas growth. We are already in talks with overseas businesses with regards to training initiatives, however, the UK is in desperate need for this service, to also conserve water. Trident TAP is a programme that will be available for businesses to use with license and training will be part of the delivered package. However, in the short term there are very simple measures that can be taught and highlighted to all businesses and in particular public services to make a huge difference to energy efficiency and reducing costs.

    We currently working with partners such as IKEA, Northern Racing, LFC, Bruntwood Estates, Salford University – to name but a few, who are all extremely impressed with and benefiting from the services we offer.

    I look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Best regards


    Sandra Witkowski
    Operations Director
    Riva Global Ltd

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