UK water management conference sounds alarm bells

The annual conference of the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management opened this morning in London UK. CIWEM is an association of  professionals. Speakers at the conference come from government, private sector, academic and ngo sectors. Amazing to GallonDaily is the extent of extreme environmental alarmism expressed by most speakers, far greater than one typically hears at North American professional association conferences. Floods, drought, water quality, and climate change are all seen by most of the professionals who have spoken so far as major environmental and economic concerns. Among the comments from key speakers:

  • we are facing extremes of weather: it is just as likely that some imagined extreme event will happen as that it will not happen.
  • the past no longer provides a reasonable basis for projecting the future.
  • the water company supplying London recently touched on a Level 4 drought emergency. A Level 4 emergency is declared when London is down to a 30 day supply of water available in its reservoirs.
  • we all have to prepare to expect the unexpected.
  • one barrier to progress is that the water industry is dominated by engineers – we need more environmental economists involved in policy and program development.
  • too much of our planning is sectorized and plans are not sufficiently linked to achieve the integrated solutions that we need.
  • we must develop our society and our infrastructure in such a way that projects provide multiple environmental and economic benefits.
  • people and environmental professionals must Stay Angry (title of a Nick Cage movie) so as to get problems resolved.
  • we must ensure that every capital replacement project leads to reduced long-term costs and reduced carbon emissions.
  • we need to apply low asset solutions.
  • we must set tough carbon emission reduction targets on planners and supply chains.
  • we should help all users reduce their consumption of water and other resources.
  • reducing costs and reducing carbon emissions are complementary, not a trade off.
  • if a single large insurer decides to stop offering renewals to high flood risk properties, it could leave thousands of properties struggling to find a new insurer. This will compromise community resilience to flooding and lead to property blight.

CIWEM has stated that many of the slides present at this Annual Meeting will be made available online. GallonDaily will provide that link, and more analysis of the conference, in coming days.

This is an original GallonDaily report from the floor of the conference.

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