Collaborative Water Management
We all need water, we all use water, and we can only protect water and rivers for people and wildlife, by working together across the whole water cycle.
Since the second world war, rapid population growth, urbanisation and demand for increased and cheaper food production have damaged natural river systems, causing many problems, such as water pollution, increased flood risk, loss of biodiversity and soil erosion. These impacts affect all of us, whether directly, through flood damage to property and infrastructure, or indirectly through escalating costs of food, drinking water, sewerage services or property insurance.
Delivering a healthy river system provides a common framework for balancing all of these impacts and demands, so that costs and benefits are shared between all sectors of society.
Collaborative water management brings government, water companies, businesses, environmental NGOs, community groups, landowners and farmers together to agree priorities and develop shared action plans.
This collaborative planning can lead to cost savings. For example, planting woodland or restoring wetland to increase biodiversity could also protect communities downstream from flooding, prevent drinking water pollution, reduce soil loss from farmland and help reduce drought, if carefully planned. If the funding for these measures is shared between all of the beneficiaries, the work becomes more affordable.
Effective planning and collaborative funding requires evidence of the likely benefits of collaborative actions. A sound evidence base builds confidence between organisations and underpins the business case for funding bids. Many partnerships are developing innovative ways of gathering, interpreting, visualising and sharing this evidence between their partners so they can work more effectively together.