24 March 2022, Scotland: Scotland’s Centre of Expertise for Waters, the Hydro Nation International Centre and the James Hutton Institute joined the annual global celebration of World Water Day with a call to realise the benefits of Scotland’s waters, during an event that brought together Scotland’s water communities to promote the value of this precious resource and, crucially, explore how we can support wider society in tackling water challenges.
During the hybrid event, held at Our Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh and virtually, representatives from Scottish Water, Citizens Advice Scotland, Jacobs, Scottish Canals and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency highlighted the often-hidden benefits of Scotland’s waters and shared examples of best-practice in community and public engagement, helping people to become informed and involved.
Delegates enjoyed insightful presentations and panel discussions, and a range of interactive exhibitions around the event theme, including how Scotland is supporting sustainable water use internationally, leading water innovation and using water science to support policy development.
Mairi McAllan MSP, the Scottish Government’s Minister for Environment and Land Reform said: “World Water Day is an opportunity to shine a light on water and how it underpins everything we do, the wider work across the sector and how society and individuals interact with this precious resource.
“It is testimony to the efforts of everyone working in the field that long-overlooked water issues now have their fully deserved prominence in the global discourse on climate change. After all, it is through water that climate changes impacts are perhaps most keenly felt.
“In aid of Scotland’s vision to be the world’s first Hydro Nation, we will continue to support and encourage individuals and communities to protect this precious resource, as well as supporting the water industry’s drive to net-zero emissions.”
The event featured a Youth Roundtable led by budding advocates and rising stars in water research and technology, with the purpose of educating and empowering young people to champion the importance of water in our everyday lives.
Given the upswell of youth engagement at COP26 on climate issues and our shared ambitions for the future, the roundtable explored how to effectively communicate and inspire everyone to deliver a new vision for a sustainable future.
Another highlight of the event was the unveiling of the WaterWall in Motion video montage where the winning entries were announced. The WaterWall will remain a permanent educational and insightful resource for learning about Scotland’s water through video media.
The event concluded with the first annual CREW Lecture, presented by Professor Alan Jenkins, Chief Scientist at UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. The focus of the lecture was on the highly relevant topic of “Water science supporting policy – reflections and future challenges” which stimulated discussions on the role scientists can play in the policy arena.
Professor Bob Ferrier, Director of the Hydro Nation International Centre, commented: “The Hydro Nation International Centre at the James Hutton Institute is honoured to have coordinated our annual national celebration of World Water Day, bringing together water professionals, researchers, policy, regulators and the public to share experiences and perspectives on the world’s most precious resource.”