Developing the Water Economy Vision
Introduction by Mairi McAllan MSP, Minister for Environment and Land Reform
I am very pleased to be able to introduce this annual report to the Scottish Parliament for the first time. This is the eighth annual report which highlights our progress in delivering on our vision of Scotland as a Hydro Nation. 2021 has continued to present serious challenges in every aspect of our lives as we all adapt to new ways of working and living during the Covid-19 pandemic. I am proud of our water industry's response and there are some excellent examples in this report of how our water sector has had to change how they operate to help keep customers and communities safe. I should like to acknowledge in particular the Covid-19 waste water monitoring, led by Scottish Water and SEPA, which provided a key response to covid-19 management during a period of unprecedented challenge for our nation.
In the seventh annual report, we highlighted that the Hydro Nation Forum would provide assistance to review the Hydro Nation agenda and ensure it remains relevant. Unfortunately, pressures arising from the pandemic mean that the review is not yet complete. I intend to reconvene the Forum in early 2022 to help focus this review and the findings will be detailed in our ninth annual report.
Climate change remains the single greatest, long term threat we face and the impacts are being increasingly felt with Scotland suffering from extreme weather events including unusually long, dry summers which mean that communities can experience a lack of water, particularly where there is a reliance on a private water supply. On the other hand, we are witnessing an increase in severe wet weather events meaning that households and businesses are being impacted by flooding. Careful management of our water resources will ensure we keep the water running for our customers, especially when proper hygiene has never been more important, and proactive management of surface water – incorporating blue-green infrastructure - will be essential to safeguard our communities from flooding.
I am pleased that this report highlights examples of innovation as we seek to meet our net-zero emissions targets. All across Scotland, companies are finding new, efficient ways of operating and it is encouraging to be able to provide these case studies.
I should like to thank everyone involved in delivering the activities which are supporting our hydro nation agenda and I look forward to continuing to work together to promote our water economy.
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