Water is our most precious natural resource. It is vital to people’s health and happiness, vital for the environment and our wildlife, and vital to our economy. But this most precious asset is in crisis. That is why in 2006 a coalition of leading environmental organisations, launched the Blueprint for Water, setting out 10 steps to sustainable water.
Four years on, during the International Year of Biodiversity, our rivers, lakes and ponds remain our most threatened habitats; targets for restoration and creation of wetlands remain unmet; and River Basin Management Plans promise just 5% improvement by 2015.
Here are the 10 steps to sustainable water by 2015
Waste less water Reduce water consumption by at least 20% through more efficient use in homes, buildings and businesses
Keep our rivers flowing and wetlands wet Reform abstraction licensing to reduce pressure on rivers, lakes and wetlands today and increase flexibility to adapt to future climate change
Price water fairly Make household water bills reflect the amount of water people use
Make polluters pay Make those who damage the water environment bear the costs through more effective law enforcement, tougher penalties and fairer charges
Stop pollutants contaminating our water Introduce targeted regulations to reduce harmful pollutants in water
Keep sewage out of homes and rivers and off beaches Upgrade the sewage system to reduce discharges of sewage into urban environments and ecologically sensitive areas
Support water-friendly farming Reward farmers who deliver healthy rivers, lakes, ponds and wetlands, and provide a range of other benefits to society
Slow, manage and clean drainage from roads and buildings Create a modern urban drainage network that can mitigate surface water flooding and trap pollution
Protect and restore catchments from source to sea Regenerate rivers, lakes and wetlands in partnership with local communities
Retain water on floodplains and wetlands Restore large areas of wetland and floodplain to create vital wildlife habitats, improve water quality and quantity, and reduce urban flooding
You can download the Blueprint at: http://www.wcl.org.uk/blueprintforwater.asp
A book I'm reading on catchment conservation in the USA contained a local residents comment at a public consultation on water resource planning.
"Why don't we take all this money we are spending on regulation and pay farmers to have wild fish in our rivers? We could do it!"
Difficult logic to argue against...isn't it?!