Hydro Nation Forum minutes: June 2016

Minutes from the meeting of the Hydro Nation Forum on 17 June 2016.

Attendees and apologies

In attendance:

  • Bob Irvine, Scottish Government (Chair)
  • Barry Greig, Scottish Government
  • Diane Duncan (Highlands and Islands Enterprise)
  • David Harley (SEPA)
  • Bob Ferrier (JHI/CREW)
  • Alan Simpson (ICE)
  • George Fleming (EnviroCentre)
  • Chris Spray (University of Dundee)
  • Gordon Hughes (WICS)
  • Alan Liddle (SEnt)
  • Tom Harvey-Clark (Scottish Water)
  • Richard Millar (Scottish Canals)
  • Chrysoula Pantsi (Edinburgh Napier)
  • Nick Lyth (Green Angel Syndicate)

Items and actions

Introduction / minutes of previous meeting

The Chairman welcomed the members to the 8th meeting of the Forum.

Hydro Nation Progress Report (Paper HNF8.1)

BG spoke to Paper HNF8.1 setting out progress since the last HN Forum meeting, specifically international focus in that period, specifically in relation to India and Malawi. With regard to India, HN activity has been based on responding to the so-called ‘Grand Challenges’ identified by PM Modi and the UK/Indian summit between Mr Modi and PM Cameron in 2015 and related commitments. Action to date includes supporting and taking part in joint workshops and exchange visits in India /UK with Indian partners, which has led to the (currently ongoing) development of a draft MoU with the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), which it is hoped will unlock collaboration opportunities for Scottish research and technology.

Other activity includes progressing the selection of the first Hydro Nation International Fellow and the development of an India/Scotland Water Entrepreneurs project. Work in Malawi builds on the Water Futures Project with a significant to support better long-term groundwater resource management in the Lower Shire Basin. Other activity includes continued engagement with Aqua Publica Europea, the pan-European network of publicly-owned water operators. Forum members welcomed the progress that has been made while encouraging the team to retain focus on the domestic agenda.


BG to circulate the context note on India’s Grand challenges prepared by Prof Ferrier.

Revised Hydro Nation Strategy

BG spoke to the revised Hydro Nation Strategy document circulated, bringing to the Forum’s attention the proposed focussing of international activities to India and Malawi, the proposal to include metrics to illustrate progress, and other minorchanges to the document. The group noted the changes, welcoming in principle the inclusion of an agreed set of metrics and made the following points in discussion:

  • a limited set of metrics should be designed to show how desired outcomes are being approached
  • the inclusion of an appropriate metric to illustrate financial commitments / funding / or the (public sector) investment supporting Hydro Nation activity was proposed
  • innovation (incl. the implementation of novel approaches, processes and technology) and enhanced capability are key aims of Hydro Nation and needs to be reflected in the metrics chosen
  • consideration should be given to an appropriate metric on investment that illustrates better what outputs are leveraged by the investment, including the impact on Scotland’s economic development as well as carbon savings etc
  • consideration should be given to an appropriate metric for water efficiency / innovation that links directly to the domestic agenda
  • consideration should be given to metrics that report both on shorter-term inputs and longer-term outcomes
  • consideration should be given to a form of reporting that illustrates the overall impact of Hydro Nation (with the example of CREW research impact reports)
  • it should be made clearer that the contextual focus of the Sustainable Development Goals includes the domestic as well as international parts of the HN strategy
  • above all, it was suggested that metrics should be used to underpin how the Hydro Nation agenda is adding value to Scotland’s water economy – and consideration should be given to a dedicated workshop to explore the issue in further detail as well as focus on key specific issues agreed by HNF


BG to circulate revised set of metrics for further comment; BG to liaise with DH re possible workshop.

3rd Annual Hydro Nation Report – Paper HNF 8.2

BG spoke to Paper HNF8.2 which sets out the proposed format and outline content for the 3rd Annual Hydro Nation report, the final mandatory report required under the legislation. The proposed format responds to the views previously expressed by the Forum, namely that as well as summarising achievements over the full period, the Report should include case studies highlighting key aspects of Scottish capability (and linked to Hydro Nation strategic aims), and for the first time, appropriate KPIs and metrics capable of demonstrating success and progress drawn from the HN Strategy (see above).

The Forum welcomed the proposed structure and content of the next report, emphasising the inclusion of appropriate case study material illustrating both Scottish capacity as well as impact of the overarching agenda. They also thought that the report should continue regularly following the end of the period required by the legislation.

Presentation – Water Stress caused by flooding and droughts - Prof George Fleming

Prof Fleming gave a presentation on the effects of flooding and the opportunities for Scotland in maximising the value and commercialisation of water resources. Discussion centred on what more the Forum could do to support work on flooding, including a more integrated approach across key players to better manage water transfers.

It was noted that legislation is in place to support consensual approaches and stimulate better allocation of resources and agreed that more could be done to disseminate information and best practice via HN channels. In particular SEPA’s expertise in Flood Risk Management and River Basin Management Planning should be promoted. It was noted that Prof Fleming has been invited to join the Scottish Government’s flood risk forum (SAIFF) to provider a link between both groups. The Annual Report would ensure that the importance of Scotland’s approach to flood risk and its growing reputation in this area were properly reflected as part of the Hydro Nation agenda.

Presentation - Hydro Nation Water Innovation Service – Progress Update – Ian Gillies (AECOM)

Ian Gillies gave a summary of progress to date since the establishment of HNWIS and circulated a detailed supporting paper. Interest has exceeded expectation, and some processes have taken longer to establish, including agreed protocols with SW Horizons around access to testing, now resolved. The team have outperformed agreed metrics on engagement / one-to-one support and expect to see companies entering formal testing in the near future, which is expected to catalyse further activity.

In the context of developing the Hydro Nation strategy and support for the innovation theme, NL invited the HN Team to consider whether an Innovation Fund should be established to directly support SMEs through their innovation journey.


Secretariat to consider the issue of stimulus funding for innovation support and report back to the Forum.

Presentation: Achieving Sustainable Rural Communities – An Innovation Hub approach – Allan Mason, Scottish Water

Allan Mason spoke to his accompanying paper proposing an ‘innovation hub’ to support better integrated thinking and action to develop the sustainable rural communities agenda in Scotland, promoting circular economy principles in support of energy-positive water systems appropriate for local communities and ensuring all interested parties are engaged in the discussion.

In discussion, the Forum noted the links to the Rural Provision agenda and need to avoid duplication of effort.Community engagement was identified as key. Mr Mason was invited to work with the Hydro Nation team to establish a research proposition based on the concept and revert to the Forum with a proposal for next steps.


BG and AM to take forward via meeting with other relevant parties including CREW, ECCI and report back.

Water Industry Division

June 2016

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