30 May 2009

'Water for Today' conference in Stroud

You will see from this flyer that Stroud's Communiversity has a whole day dedicated to the crucial issue of water - Tuesday 23rd June at The Exchange. You will also see that I have a slot to talk about the Ruscombe Brook Action Group.

We must start taking this issue of water more seriously - this conference is a chance to look at some of the key issues in more depth - water resources are under huge pressures even in this country; some 25 million people live in areas where there is less available water per person than Spain or Morocco. The average Briton now uses 148 litres (260 pints) every day. Climate change is expected to reduce the amount of water available in our rivers by up to 80% by 2050 in the summer, yet we face population increases. The transport, heating and treatment of water accounts for over 6% of the UKs carbon footprint. Using less water means we take less from the environment and cut the energy needed to treat it.

It is also crucially about the way we look after our brooks and streams. We need water management strategies that look to store and infiltrate water to protect us from floods and drought. This is about improved wildlife and water quality in our brooks, an end to sewage leaks and a joined up approach to water that includes changes to planning, farming and house building. It means an end to those of us upstream dumping on those downstream.

Worldwide around 800 million people don't have access to safe drinking water, and 2.5 billion do not have decent sanitation. By 2030, according to an OECD report, 3.9 billion people, around half of the world's population at the time, will be living in bad water scarcity.

And that doesn't even take into account the likely impact of global warming.

Changed weather patterns will cause rain and snow to fall away from the traditional areas where they feed rivers and lakes and are captured by dams - or are held back by flood dikes and levees. By 2050 forecasts indicate there will be nine billion of us, compared with 6.5 billion today. How will we feed them? How will we provide water for them, given that we waste and pollute so much of the precious substance today?

Book now for your place on the day.

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